UBC Thunderbirds Swimming Announces Recruiting Class

Photo Courtesy: UBC Thunderbirds Athletics

VANCOUVER – The UBC Thunderbirds swim program has signed an outstanding recruiting class for the upcoming season, as it gets ready to defend the CIS men’s and women’s team titles it won in 2015.

On the men’s side, UBC welcomes Colby Evans (West Vancouver, B.C.), Hau-Li Fan (Burnaby, B.C), Darian Fry (Surrey, B.C.), Ryder McGinnis (Edmonton) and Carson Olafson (Chilliwack, B.C.) to the Thunderbirds family.

“This year’s class of male recruits is exceptional and adds to an already deep list of names on our roster,” said UBC head coach Steve Price. “We have a great representation of young men from around the Lower Mainland.

“All these young guns bring talent to our team and will push the veterans for spots on the relays as well as the championship roster. My goal was not only to develop a winning men’s team but one that could run for the championships for years to come. With a few of our guys considering red-shirting next season in preparation for the Olympic Trials in April 2016, the deeper this team is the better.”

For the UBC women, Mia Bottrill (Port Moody, B.C.) will join the roster along with previously announced recruit Heather Lam (Vancouver).

Budding international star Emily Overholt has also committed to Thunderbirds and will begin her time with the T-Birds in the fall of 2016.

“The story of next year’s women’s team is “lean and mean,” said Price. “After losing quality veterans like Savannah King,Fionnuala Pierse, Colleen Nesbitt and Heather McLean, we are in the position of rebuilding our depth over the next two seasons.

“As a member of the Vancouver Pacific Swim Club, our sister club, Heather trains with us daily so has a good sense of what to expect from the program. She’s a great racer in the sprints. Mia Bottrill from the Hyack Swim Club in New Westminster is a butterfly and distance freestyle specialist. Mia’s dad Mark is the head coach of her team and has done a great job bringing Mia along in her development.”

Here’s a look at the newest recruits for UBC swimming.

COLBY EVANS (5-10, West Vancouver, B.C.)
A member of the Hollyburn Hurricanes Swim Club, Evans’ main events are in the butterfly discipline.

“Knowing that I have been accepted into such a prestigious program, one that many would dream of achieving, has given me recognition of my hard work,” said Evans. “It’s a great stepping-stone in my life, and allows me to progress forward with a supportive team.”

HAU-LI FAN (6-2, Burnaby, B.C.)
Fan competes for the Canadian Dolphin Swim Club and his events include the 200 butterfly, the 400 individual medley and the 1,500 freestyle.

“Ever since a young age, I have been swimming competitively, but being able to swim with the UBC varsity team is the next level for me to get faster at the sport,” said Fan. “To be successful in both academics and school can be quite difficult and time consuming; you have to learn how to prioritize, but I am looking forward to the challenge. Also, I want to give a huge thank to my coach Kelly, family and friends. I wouldn’t have gotten this far without them.”

Fan, a New Westminster Secondary student, has competed for Canada at the 2010 and 2012 North American Challenge Cups. He also swam at the 2014 East-West Youth Dual Meet.

DARIAN FRY (6-1, Surrey, B.C.)
Fry is a backstroke and butterfly swimmer who comes to UBC from the Pacific Sea Wolves Club in Surrey, B.C.

“I am excited about the upcoming year and swimming with such a talented group of competitors,” said Fry. “I’m ready to work hard and hope to take my swimming to the next level.”

Fry spent four years (2009-2012) with Team B.C.

RYDER MCGINNIS (5-7, Edmonton, Alta.)
A top breaststroke prospect, McGinnis represented Canada at the 2014 Junior Pan Pacific Championships in Hawaii. He also competed in the 2013 Heilongjiang-Alberta Swim Exchange in China.

“I’m thrilled to be coming to a program that can help me achieve my academic and athletic goals,” said McGinnis. “I welcome the challenge of contributing to a program that defines excellence, and I am proud to be able to call myself a UBC Thunderbird.”

McGinnis honed his skills with the Edmonton Keyano Swim Club, which was Price’s old club before becoming the head coach at UBC.

CARSON OLAFSON (6-3, Chilliwack, B.C.)
Olafson is a versatile swimmer, covering off all the freestyle, backstroke and butterfly events. The Chilliwack, B.C., native will swim for Canada at the upcoming World Junior Championships in Singapore.

“I am very excited to be joining such a dynamic and successful team,” said Olafson. “The UBC Thunderbirds have had many team members over the years that I consider role models. I hope that I can bring something to such a great group of swimmers and coaches.”

Described by Price as a “tough racer,” Olafson was on the Western Team for the East-West Youth Dual Meet last year. He was also a member of Team B.C. for four years.

MIA BOTTRILL (5-7, Port Moody, B.C.)
Bottrill is a Port Moody, B.C., native who made the finals of four events (100 fly, 200 fly, 800 free, 1,500 free) at the Canadian Trials in April.

“I’ve consistently worked to improve myself my entire swimming career and feel the UBC training environment and coaching staff will provide me the best opportunity to continue my improvement and goals of medaling at CIS,” said Bottrill. “I’m excited to join a perennial powerhouse and be a part of continuing the legacy.”

Bottrill currently swims for the Hyack Swim Club in New Westminster, B.C.

EMILY OVERHOLT (5-7, West Vancouver, B.C.)
Overholt is the most accomplished of the newest Thunderbirds, having already won a silver medal – in the 4×200 free relay – at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. She has also competed for Canada at the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships and the 2013 World Junior Championships.

“I’m really excited to be joining the UBC Swim Team for the 2016-17 season,” said Overholt. “Training at the National High Performance Centre at UBC, I’ve been able to witness the great training environment the team has and its success this year and in previous years is very inspiring, so I can’t wait to be a part of it in the future.”

In addition to the freestyle events, Overholt races the 400 individual medley.

“Next season is an Olympic year so that always brings the best out of our teams with swimmers challenging for spots to compete in Rio,” said Price. “The CIS season allows the swimmers to prepare well for the Trials in April and we usually see the fastest CIS champs in the final year of the quadrennial. In 2012, Tommy Gossland rode his success at the CIS meet to a spot on the London Olympics team roster along with other notable T-Birds.”

With the exception of McGinnis, all of UBC’s newest recruits will be competing at the 52nd annual Mel Zajac Jr. International Swim Meet this weekend at the UBC Aquatic Centre.

The above article is a press release submitted to Swimming World. To reach our audience, contact us at newsmaster@swimmingworld.com.