Vernon Kokanee grad earns CIS honour

Vernon's Savannah King earns CIS Athlete of the Week after stellar five-medal showing at Canada West Championships in Edmonton.

From lapping up medals in Edmonton to soaking up rays in Hawaii, it’s been a memorable week on the university swim scene for Vernon’s Savannah King.

After a stellar five-medal performance last weekend at the Canada West championships, King, a former Vernon Kokanee Swim Club member, was named Canadian Interuniversity Sport’s (CIS) Athlete of the Week.

Now with the UBC Thunderbirds, the 19-year-old sophomore swimmer collected triple gold in Edmonton, winning the 800- and 400-metre freestyle events, and contributing to the T-birds’ record-setting 800-m freestyle relay. She added silver in the 200-m freestyle and bronze in the 200-m backstroke.

“To be honest, I was happiest with the silver and the bronze,” laughed King, who is in Hawaii with the T-Birds for a training camp before the CIS championships, Feb. 23-25, in Montreal.

“I’ve been working more on my speed in the freestyle and it was the first time I broke two minutes in the 200 freestyle. The bronze was in the backstroke and I only do backstroke as a fun event, so to get a medal in something I only do for fun is good.”

On Hawaii, she added: “We’re here for training camp, to get some sunshine and vitamin D and away from all the clouds in Vancouver. We have 10 hours in the middle to do absolutely nothing.”

Since she competed in the 400-m freestyle at the 2006 Summer Games in Beijing, King has had to deal with a series of ups and downs, including several coaching changes (Steve Price took over from Tom Johnson last fall).

But with the Olympics fast approaching (July 27-Aug. 12 in London), King feels like she has come through the worst of it.

“It’s a lot of work, and especially for girls my age there’s always a patch in the middle where you go downhill just from growing and finishing puberty. I definitely kind of hit that at the right time…between Olympic years.

“I had a couple hard years but I think I’m on the upward climb and hopefully I’ll do well this year. It seems to be going well so far.”