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Zakala swimming with elite

Kelowna's Josh Zakala will be training with the elite in Canadian swimming.

Zakala, 17, has been selected to join Canada’s elite team at the High Performance Centre in Victoria.

For the past eight years, Zkala has represented the Kelowna Aqua Jets Swim Club at the local, provincial, national and international level.

He has finished top three in the Across the Lake Swim four times, winning in 2014.

Zakala holds the provincial 400m IM record in the 13-14 age group and this past summer brought home five gold, six silver and a bronze medal from the Western Canada Summer Games.

Internationally, he competed in the 2011 International Children’s Games in Scotland, and travelled to the Cayman Islands, where he qualified to compete later that year in the 2014 FINA Junior World Open Water Swimming Championships in Hungary. He finished 13th.

Zakala also was selected as part of the 2015 Canadian Youth Tour Team, which competed in Sydney, Australia.

“Josh has been a dedicated, passionate and determined member of our team,” says Gary Desrosier, Kelowna AquaJets board president. “Josh holds an unprecedented 87 club records, has been the recipient of many club awards including swimmer of the year, and has supported our club as a top fundraiser and team leader.”

He will train in Victoria under Ryan Mallette, who currently coaches Canada’s best distance swimmer, two-time Olympic medalist Ryan Cochrane.

Zakala will travel with the team to Florida in March in preparation for the 2016 Olympic trials this April in Toronto.

“I was blessed to have Peter Wilkins as my coach for the past five years and Emil Dimitrov for the first half of this season, as they both have taught me valuable lessons in and out of the pool,” says Zakala. “I’d like to thank everyone part of the KAJ family, as the pool has become almost like a second home to me. Without the support and encouragement, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

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