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Three swimmers from Calgary club qualify for Paris Olympics

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Three swimmers from a Calgary swimming club have qualified for the Paris 2024 Summer Olympic Games.

Despite not being allowed in the pool on Tuesday due to Calgary’s ongoing water restrictions, the spirits of 28-year-old Yuri Kisil, 24-year-old Rebecca Smith and 26-year-old Ingrid Wilm from Calgary's Cascade Swim Club were high after making it through the Olympic trials to qualify for the games.

Kisil will be competing in his third games. He qualified for Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and for the Tokyo games in 2020, he and his teammates came close to medalling. They finished fourth in the men’s 4x100 metre freestyle relay.

Kisil is happy to be heading back to the games.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” he said.

“I’ve been lucky enough to experience it, this is my third time and I know this will probably be the last time for me. I just want to soak it all in and really just enjoy the experience. Of course, I’ve got goals and I want to perform to my best capabilities, but really soak it in.”

Smith will be going to her second Olympics and she’d love to add to her medal total. In her debut in Tokyo, Smith swam the third leg for Canada’s 4x100 metre freestyle relay. Canada ended up winning the Silver medal.

Smith says the Paris games will be a little different.

“You know I want to race the best that I can and having experience from my first Olympic games I think will help me with this one as well,” she said.

“But you know every games is different. I think this one will definitely be a bit more exciting just with not a lot of restrictions.”

Olympic debut

Wilm will be making her Olympic debut in Paris. She says getting through the Olympic trials wasn’t easy but there’s more work to be done.

“Honestly, the day of it was kind of like unbelievable and then the very next day it was very much a moment of, ‘I got to get to work,’” she laughed.

“I think I skipped right over the, 'I made it’ and (went) right into, ‘I’ve got work to do to head into this.’”

Cascade has more members going to the Olympics than any other club in Canada. Dave Johnson, the club’s head coach and director of swimming, will also be going to the games.

He says it’s a feather in the cap for Cascade.

“We have a club that’s performed at the highest level in comparison to any other club in the country,” he said.

“I think it was recognized significantly by not only our colleagues and other swim programs but also by Swimming Canada that we did a pretty good job getting these kids through.”

The Olympic Games in Paris run from July 26 to August 11.

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