Led by aspiring Olympian Kierra Smith, four members of the Liquid Lightning Swim Club struck for a total of five medals at the Canadian Summer National Championships last week in Point Claire, Que.
Smith, 19, set the pace for the West Kelowna-based club with a gold medal in the 200 metre breaststroke and added a silver in the 100 metres. It was Smith’s first ever national senior title.
It was an especially satsifying result for Smith who was coming off a challenging first season of collegiate swimming at the University of Minnesota.
“It means a lot to me,” Smith said of the gold medal. “I had kind of a tough first year at school, going from metres to yards and back to metres again, and I wasn’t eating all that well, so it was an adjustment. But my training and routine seems to be back where it was, so I was glad to be able to follow up on what I did last year.”
In 2012, Smith won silver in both the 100 and 200 metres at nationals, and silver in the 100 in 2011.
In April of 2012, Smith narrowly missed qualifying for the Olympic Games, finishing in fourth place.
Meanwhile, Smith’s teammate, Rohan Jacobs, was equally as impressive picking up a pair of silver medals.
He fell just shy of a national championship gold in the 50 fly, finishing 1/100 of a second behind a swimmer from Richileu, Que.
In the 100 metre fly, another close second as Jacobs came in second, just .2 of second back of the gold medalist from Oakville., Ont.
David Dimitrov added a fifth medal for the West Kelowna-based club, earning a bronze in the 400 individual medley.
Christina Russo was the fourth LLSC member to compete and smashed her own record on the 50 metre butterfly.
As a team, the Lightning finished a solid 16th out of 400 clubs from across Canada.
“We’re a tougher, battle tested group of veteran swimmers now and I’m proud of these kids bringing home medals,” said Lightning coach Emil Dimitrov.
Next week, seven Lightning swimmers, including Russo, will be competing at the Canadian Age Group Championships in Montreal.