Canadians reach three finals, set two national records on Day 7
TOKYO – The Canadian swimming team couldn’t add to its medal haul on Tuesday at the Paralympic Games but it wasn’t for a lack of impressive performances at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.
With three days left in the meet, Canada’s medal count at the pool sits at five, including one gold, two silver and a pair of bronze.
Three Canadians competed in finals on Day 7.
In the men’s 100-m butterfly S10, Alec Elliot (Centre de Natation Région de Québec) of Kitchener, Ont., posted a personal best time of 58.59 seconds in the preliminaries before going even faster in the final to finish fifth in 58.44.
The 25-year-old was seventh at the turn in the medal race but overtook two opponents on the way back to climb up two positions.
Ukraine’s Maksym Krypak was crowned in a world record time of 54.15, with Stefano Raimondi of Italy (55.04) and Col Pearse of Australia (57.66) taking silver and bronze, respectively.
“It was a good race. Pretty much the same as this morning, just a little bit faster,” said Elliot, who had placed fourth in the event at Rio 2016. “I definitely went out faster, came back a little bit slower. But I gave it my best.
“I have a big 400 free which is my best event tomorrow morning. Hoping to qualify for the final and have a good final tomorrow night.”
In the women’s 100 freestyle S7, Sabrina Duchesne (Club de natation Rouge et Or) of Saint-Augustin, Que., also set back-to-back personal bests in the heats and final, first clocking 1:14.95 to qualify eighth and then 1:14.55 to take sixth place overall.
The 20-year-old, who on Sunday helped the Canadian women’s relay claim bronze in the 4×100 free, was seventh at the 50-metre mark but raced by Russian rival Ani Palian down the stretch.
Giulia Terzi of Italy captured gold in 1:09.21, a new Paralympic standard. Rounding out the podium were McKenzie Coan of the United States (1:10.22) as well as Ukraine’s Yelyzaveta Mereshko and China’s Yuyan Jiang, who tied for third in 1:11.07.
“The race was good. I would not have expected that outcome today,” said Duchesne, who ends her second Paralympic Games with a pair of individual finals along with the relay bronze. “Being sixth in the world in the 100 free is really amazing.
“My time at the Games was great. Despite the restrictions, I was able to cheer for my teammates. For sure it’s going to be hard to leave them but I’m going to cheer from home now and they’re going to do great the rest of the way.”
Paralympic newcomer Shelby Newkirk (Saskatoon Lasers Swim Club) of Saskatoon and three-time Paralympian Camille Bérubé (Natation Gatineau) of Gatineau, Que., swam alongside Duchesne in the preliminaries of the 100 free S7 but couldn’t advance.
Newkirk, an S6 athlete competing up a class in this event, placed 11th with a time of 1:19.06, obliterating the previous Canadian S6 standard of 1:30.83 by almost 12 seconds.
Bérubé finished one spot behind in 1:19.64.
In the final of the men’s 200 individual medley S14, 17-year-old Nicholas Bennett (High Performance Centre – Quebec) of Parksville, B.C., wrapped up a sensational Paralympic debut with a seventh-place finish and his fourth national record in as many events at the Games.
The youngest Canadian athlete competing in the Japanese capital clocked 2:13.21 in the final to shatter his own national mark for the second time in a span of eight hours. He had qualified fifth out of the heats in 2:13.94 to lower his previous standard of 2:15.56 he had posted in a gold-medal swim at the Lima 2019 Parapan American Games.
In a lightning-fast Tokyo final, Reece Dunn of Great Britain won the race in a world record time of 2:08.02. He was followed at the wall by Brazil’s Gabriel Bandeira (2:09.56) and Ukraine’s Vasyl Krainyk (2:09.92), who also went under the previous Paralympic mark.
“I’d say it was a difficult swim near the end. It was a faster time of course but I think I need to work on some endurance,” said Bennett, who earlier in the competition placed fifth in the 100 breaststroke, sixth in the 200 freestyle and ninth in the 100 butterfly.
“My experience at the Games has been wonderful. I was stoked just to be here. I just want to say to my family and friends and who have been watching me from home at 1 a.m., thank you so much. It’s made my spirits so much better.”
Four other Canadians competed in heats on Day 7.
In the men’s 400 freestyle S8, Zach Zona (High Performance Centre – Quebec) of Waterford, Ont., swimming in his first career Paralympic race and his lone event in Tokyo, placed ninth in 4:49.09.
In the women’s 200 IM S14, Angela Marina (Brantford Aquatic Club) of Cambridge, Ont., was 12th in 2:38.97, just over a second off her own national record.
In the women’s 50 breaststroke S3, Rio 2016 veteran Tammy Cunnington (Red Deer Catalina Swim Club) of Red Deer, Alta., ranked 13th in 1:17.94.
In the women’s 100 free S9, Katarina Roxon (Aqua Aces Swim Club), a four-time Paralympian from Kippens, N.L., clocked 1:08.24 to finish in 17th position.
Wayne Lomas, Swimming Canada’s Associate High Performance Director and National Para Swimming Coach, was proud to see so many swimmers set personal best times.
“Today we saw the execution of peak performance by so many members of our team and, as icing on the cake, our three finalists, Alec, Sabrina and Nicholas all swam faster in their final than they did to qualify. Alec became Canada’s fastest ever swimmer in the 100 fly S10 at the Paralympic Games while both Nicholas and Shelby swam personal bests on their way to establishing new Canadian records.
“Our team defines success in terms of leaving it all in the pool, sticking to the race plan and aiming for a PB. And today, over the course of nine swims in the morning, we recorded three PB’s and another two that were the respective swimmers’ second best performances ever. That was a good day’s work.”
Full schedule and results:
Photos courtoisie du Comité paralympique canadien (à des fins éditoriales uniquement) : https://cdnparalympics.photoshelter.com/gallery-collection/Tokyo-2020/C0000_JK7r6z31OA
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