Para swimmers ready to step up on world stage in Manchester
MANCHESTER — An experienced group of Canadian Para swimmers is ready to swim fast at the Manchester 2023 Allianz Para Swimming World Championships.
The seven-day competition gets underway this Monday and will run until Sunday at the Manchester Aquatics Centre, with preliminaries set to start at 9 a.m. (4 a.m. ET / 1 a.m. PT) and finals starting at 5 p.m. (noon ET /9 a.m. PT) daily.
Viewers can catch the action live as all heats and finals sessions will be livestreamed on the free
CBC Gem streaming service, cbcsports.ca, and the CBC Sports App for iOS and Android devices.
Nineteen of the 20 team members are returning from last year’s world championships in Madeira, including Aurélie Rivard, from St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., who won two golds and one bronze in Madeira. The team claimed a total of 18 medals (6 gold, 5 silver, and 7 bronze).
Other returning medallists include Nicholas Bennett, Danielle Dorris, Nikita Ens, Tess Routliffe, Katarina Roxon, Nicolas-Guy Turbide, James Leroux, Alec Elliot, and Shelby Newkirk.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing what our team will be able to accomplish at Worlds. I think it’s going to be a great championship and I’m really excited for it,” said Newkirk, the defending world champion in the 100-m backstroke S6 sport class.
The team gathered in Crawley for an eight-day preparation camp prior to arriving in Manchester and is ready to step up on the world stage.
“After a great performance preparation camp in Crawley, England, we look forward to racing at the Para Swimming World Championships. Though we have our eyes clearly on the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, the world championships serves as an important stepping stone on the journey,” said Associate High Performance Director and National Para Swimming Coach Wayne Lomas.
“Every swimmer on our team, along with their coach back home in Canada, has done an outstanding job in preparing to be the best they can be in Manchester on their individual path to Paris. As a team we will work to support each other to achieve their goals at this meet. Our coaching staff, under the leadership of Head Coach Mike Thompson, have done an outstanding job in supporting the plans of home coaches to put the finishing touches on the preparation.”
Thompson, Swimming Canada’s Senior team coach and national team performance manager, Paralympic Program, is looking forward to seeing what everyone can achieve as a team.
“People are going to see the same Canadian athletes that we’ve had for the last few years. The difference is going to be, they’re a lot sharper and a lot better after a year of training.”
The team aspect has been an important focus in the past year and Thompson believes it will play a big part in the team’s success going forward.
“One of the things that we’re really trying to focus on this year is the power of team and leveraging the power of team to help each individual reach their maximum. By being able to get through the good times and the bad times as a team, not just as a group of individuals,” he added.
Katie Cosgriffe, 17, from Burlington, Ont., is the only rookie on the team this year and is looking forward to using the championships as a learning experience.
Being the only rookie “makes it a little bit more difficult but I think that after a week I settled in well and I’m having a much easier time talking to people. I am just trying to use my first worlds as a learning experience. I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself and just see how it goes, get that experience.”
The athletes are also able to count on great coaches, staff, and integrated support team working together as the Manchester bees to help them be at 100 per cent both physically and mentally at the championships. Swimming Canada’s key national partners assist in making all this possible.
“I’d like to acknowledge Own the Podium and the Canadian Paralympic Committee, whose technical and financial support are critical to us in our preparation,” added Lomas.
“Our team looks forward to an exciting world championships where our Canadian swimmers will demonstrate their individual excellence on the world stage.”
Schedule and results: https://www.paralympic.org/manchester-2023/schedule-and-results