UW swimmer sets new Canadian record in 2023 World Junior Swimming Championships

Courtesy Kevin Zhang

UW swimmer Kevin Zhang set a new Canadian world record in the 15-17 year old age division at the 2023 World Aquatics Junior Swimming Championships in Netanya, Israel from Sept. 4 to 9. 

This was Zhang’s first time representing Canada on the world stage, competing in the men’s 200m butterfly. “Going into the competition, my goal was just to make the final,” Zhang said. And he did, qualifying with a time of 1:59.57. 

When asked about how he felt going into the final, Zhang said, “It was honestly more relaxing than the [qualifiers]… I told myself, ‘I already did what I came to do here, so just go out there and have some fun.’” 

Zhang placed seventh in the competition achieving a new personal best of 1:58.97. “When I … finished the race, I didn’t actually know, no one really knew that it was a Canadian record. I actually found out on the bus home when, like one of my teammates asked me, he’s like ‘Oh you’re still 17?’ and I was like ‘Yeah’ and he’s like ‘I think that’s the national record’, so we checked it and it was.” 

Zhang said that finding out about his new record was “pretty exciting” and “added to [the] sense of accomplishment at the competition.” 

Looking to the future, Zhang is excited to represent Canada this October at the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, aiming to perform better than at the World Aquatics Championships and set a new best time. Go Warriors!

Story has been modified for clarity.