With the Paralympic Games rapidly approaching, Report On Rio will preview every event that has a Canadian team competing in Brazil — featuring past results, schedules, rosters, and expectations.
The sights, smells and sounds of swimming are unique. Things move so fast in the pool that dreams are fulfilled and broken in minutes.
Swimming events are scheduled almost every day in Rio, running September 8th to 17th.
Meet the Team
Following the Canadian Paralympic swimming trials in April, a 22-person line-up was announced. Fourteen of the 22 are making their Paralympic debuts. Among them is Danielle Doris from Moncton, N.B. The rookie is only 13 years old and will make history as the youngest-ever swimmer to make the Canadian team.
Rio will also be a first Games for Kingston’s Abi Tripp. She broke a 14-year old record in the 200m IM twice in one night at the Canadian trials.
“It’s a dream that so many people have,” said the 15-year-old. “Getting the opportunity to live it is a not-even-on-this-earth experience.”
Benoit Huot, nine-time gold medalist, is heading to to his fifth Paralympic Games.
“I’m just so privileged and lucky,” said Huot, who was Canada’s flag bearer for the London Paralympics closing ceremonies. “After all these years, to live my passion and be in love with my sport, is so unique.
“Many athletes don’t even have one chance to compete at a Paralympics. I’m going to live it for the fifth time. There are no words. I’m really embracing the moment. I want to enjoy every minute of it and have the time of my life.”
Canadian swimmers picked up 16 medals at the London 2012, the most in any event Canada was represented. The team is in somewhat of a rebuilding phase but there are still a number of red-hot medal prospects this time round.
Aurelie Rivard won silver in the 400m in London and will hope to build on recent achievements. 20-year-old Rivard won a record seven medals, six of them gold, and set a world record in the 100-m freestyle at the Parapan Am Games. Four years older and World Champion in the 50m and 400m freestyle, Rivard is the young star of the team alongside Katarina Roxon.
Meanwhile at twice Rivard’s age, Tammy Cunnington, is going the Games after taking up the sport only two years ago. Cunnington, a former high-performance paratriathlete, is the current Canadian record holder in the 50-metre and 100-metre freestyle. In the 2015 World Championships, she placed seventh in the 50-metre fly.
See you poolside!
Photo Credit: Canadian Paralympic Committee / Swimming Canada