West Kelowna  

Swim clubs join forces

After a 23-year run in West Kelowna, the Liquid Lighting Swim Club is joining the Kelowna Aqua Jets.

The club announced the move in a press release Thursday.

Swimming Canada changes last year placed an increased importance on long-course (50-metre) competition and by default decreased the importance of the short course (25-metre) season, the club said.

In order to remain competitive, swimmers require long-course qualifying times and need to be training in a 50m pool. The H20 Centre has the only 50m pool in the region.

‘We looked at every feasible option and, after months of conversations, the answer was imminent," said Liquid Lightning president Susan Toyata.

At a special meeting in June, the membership voted to join the Aqua Jets.

The Liquid Lightning Swim Club Association will be put on hold for three years, and its swimmers in West Kelowna, Westbank and Peachland will register with the Aqua Jets as of September. 

The transition will increase the KAJ membership to just over 300 swimmers, with programs running in three pools – H20 in the Mission, YMCA in Rutland and Johnson-Bentley in West Kelowna. 

“It is difficult to see the end of LLSC,” said Emil Dimitrov, head coach of both clubs. “I moved to West Kelowna nine years ago with my two sons and late wife Eli to coach LLSC, and I have loved every minute of it.”

The club has produced Olympian Kierra Smith, who represented Canada at the 2016 Rio Olympics. 

“Circumstances beyond our control have forced this difficult decision to be made,” said Dimitrov. 

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