Sep 2014 13

Zakala At Junior Worlds

Posted in Featured, Sports

Josh Zakala (16) of the Kelowna AquaJets has just arrived home from Balatonfured, Hungary after a successful competition in the Junior Open Water World Championships. This was Zakala’s first time racing with the maple leaf on his back, but did not let his nerves get to him, placing 13th in a field of 38 boys. Josh also placed 15th in the team event, which was comprised of 3 swimmers from each country. Coach Peter Wilkins was very happy with the maturity of his swimmer at the event and his performance in the water “Josh carried himself like a world class athlete all week, something he should be very proud of”.

In the individual event, a 5 kilometer race in Lake Balaton the swimmers raced 4 laps around a 1.25 kilometer course in 21 degree water. Zakala was aggressive and tough in the race, putting himself in the lead back right away and toughing out 3 kilometers at a blistering fast pace that was well ahead of what the Junior Boys aged 17-18 swam on Friday. Zakala clocked in at 58 minutes and 1 second. “I was really happy with the result and my performance,” said Zakala, who started open water racing at age 13. “I know I can race with these guys. I stayed with the front pack for more than half the race and that gave me a lot of confidence. It was really important to fight for a spot in the front right of the start.”

Head Coach from Team Canada Gilles Potvin, a member of the Open Water Hall of Fame, was amazed at the skill level and character Josh showed during the competition. “This experience for Josh was really positive. I am impressed with how quickly he picked up skills in practice and his determination during the race”. The trip was not only eye opening for Josh, but his coach Peter Wilkins as well. His first time coaching for his country has left him more aware of what it takes to compete and win an an international level. “It was an inspiring trip, I can’t wait to get back to the pool and get back to work with the rest of the team”. The season for the AquaJets started on Monday September 8th at the KFY pool, while the H20 finishes its annual maintenance. For more information on registraion, visit the club online at www.kelownaaquajets.com

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