Flying south for the spring: T-Bird swimmers named to Canada's Commonwealth Games team

The 21st edition of the Commonwealth Games are set to kick off in the first two weeks of April 2018 on the Gold Coast of Australia. The Games pit the best athletes from countries across the Commonwealth against each other. This time, that includes several of UBC’s finest.

With the Games only six months away, Canadian sport federations have begun to announce their national team members. Yesterday, Swimming Canada — the national governing body for swimming — announced their selection for both the men and women’s competitive teams. Of those selected, four are members of the Thunderbirds varsity swim team: Yuri “the Missile” Kisil, Markus Thormeyer, Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson and Josiah Binnema. T-Bird alumn Carson Olafson also made the cut.

Seltenreich-Hodgson, Thormeyer, Binnema and Kisil have all represented Canada at previous international meets including the recent FINA (International Swimming Federation) World Championships in Budapest in July. This will be Olafson’s second major international meet after the World Championships in Budapest.

Yuri Kisil, one of several UBC athletes with international experience, placed 10th in the 100 metre freestyle at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Yuri Kisil, one of several UBC athletes with international experience, placed 10th in the 100 metre freestyle at the 2016 Rio Olympics. File Ben Geisberg/The Ubyssey

The rest of the 26-person roster is stacked with the best swimmers Canada has to offer, including world record holder Kylie Masse of the University of Toronto, veteran butterfly swimmer Katerine Savard of the Université de Montreal and teenage phenom and Olympic gold medalist Penny Oleksiak of Toronto.

The Commonwealth Games are a major international competition in the swimming world. Because of the absence of strong performers such as China and the United States — countries that are not a part of the Commonwealth — it is also a competition Canada tends to perform well in, so don’t be surprised if some ’Birds come home with some new hardware to hang up.