Josh Zakala defends national open water title
One of the country's top young swimmers, Josh Zakala cleaned up last weekend at the Canadian Age Group Championships in Winnipeg.
Zakala, 16, led the Kelowna AquaJets with eight individual medals in nine events—four gold, two silver and two bronze.
His last medal on Monday came in the 5 km Open Water race at St. Malo Park, where he defended his national title for the fourth year running. Not only was Zakala the fastest in his age group, but he was the fastest overall in the race, completing the course in 58 minutes and 38 seconds.
‘’Happy but tired,’’ said Zakala, after the race. ‘’I maintained a consistent race. The sighting was hard at times and I tended to go off course."
In the pool Zakala won his gold in the 1500 Free, 800 Free and 200 IM; silver medals in the 200 Back, and 400 IM; and bronze medals in the 100 Back and 400 Free.
All eight pool races were AquaJet club records in both 15-17 and Open age categories. Although most were already his own, the one record he rewrote was a 200 Free record (1:56.78) set by Christian Desjarlais back in 2011. Zakala lowered this to 1:56.32 and placed fifth. Josh is currently still in Winnipeg representing Team West in an East vs. West Dual competition, before returning home on Friday.
Josh will continue to train through the summer getting ready for his first International Competition representing Canada at the FINA Junior Open Water World Championships, which has recently been moved from Eilat, Israel to Hungary on Sept. 5 to 7.
In Winnipeg, the AquaJets were also represented by Katie Dunlop, 15, and Clarisse Obedkoff, 14.
Obedkoff swam to four best times while competing in the 50 Free (26th), 200 Free (26th), 200 Fly (25th), 200 IM (17th) and 400 IM (21st). Dunlop had two best times and cracked the top 10 while competing in the 50 Free (10th), 100 Free (12th), 50 Breast (9th), 100 Breast (11th), 200 Breast (15th), 200 Back (19th), 200 IM (20th).
The meet hosted 873 swimmers and over 150 clubs from all over Canada, along with a few international competitors from Ireland and Bermuda. Overall the AquaJets placed in 48th spot. Head coach Peter Wilkins was pleased with the efforts of his team. “I am proud of how all three Jets handled themselves at the competition, and am already looking forward to next season."