LIMA, Peru – The water has finally settled at the Aquatic Centre at Videna, host venue of the 2019 Parapan American Games in Lima. For the 13 swimmers who made the trip to South America, the memories of their first major Games will last forever but they are only getting started.
On the final day of competition, Patrick Waters added one final medal, a silver in the men’s SB9 100-m breaststroke to bring Canada’s medal count to six gold, seven silver, and eight bronze. The 21 medals, Canadian records, and countless personal best times are results of the effort and commitment that the team has put forth in preparation for the Games.
“I thought our team was very mature for a group that hasn’t been to Games before,” said head coach Michel Berube. “They have learnt so much over the last two week and the preparation before the Games. I thought they handled themselves extremely professionally, they stayed calm and they stuck together as team.”
Berube believes the future is bright for this group.
“I think they will surprise a lot of people in the next 48 months,” he added.
Nicholas Bennett led the charge for Canada with three gold medals and one silver. In his final race at the Games, the Parksville, B.C. native took home a gold with a time of 2:15.66 in the men’s S14 200-m individual medley, a Canadian record.
“It was amazing, it’s sad that it’s over,” said Bennett following the event. “I wish these could be every year but that would take away from the magic.”
Angela Marina from Cambridge, Ont. reached the podium three times, earning two gold medals and one silver medal.
Krystal Shaw is returning home to Saskatchewan with three silver and one bronze medal. Shaw, 25, is one of the oldest members of the team and she has made an impact on her younger teammates.
“They call me the mom of the crew,” said Shaw. “I make sure everyone is organized.”
As for her goals moving forward, the Moose Jaw, Sask. native has her eyes set on Tokyo.
“I want to get qualifying times for Tokyo, mainly for the 400,” she said. “Tokyo 2020 is my goal.”
Tyson MacDonald was solid in the pool all week and has the hardware to show for it. The 23-year-old earned three medals, including one gold. MacDonald is eager to take his experience to the pool this year at the University of Laurier.
“Using the international experience and sharing it with my teammates and the coaching staff, it will not only help me improve for next year but help my teammates improve too,” said MacDonald. “Now I’m someone that not only our swim team can look up to but our entire university.”
Arianna Hunsicker also had an impressive showing in her first major competition, taking home five bronze medals.
Wayne Lomas, Associate Director of High Performance and Para Swimming National Coach at Swimming Canada, was impressed by his team’s composure in big moments.
“Internationally successful swimmers know how to perform when it matters, and I am encouraged by the way that every member of our team performed,” said Lomas. “Our team is dedicated to preparation and process. These are the attributes that will help them as they continue their international journey.”
In the end, ten Canadian swimmers had a chance to stand on the podium during the competition.
Although Jacob Brayshaw didn’t swim as well as he would have hoped, he remains positive and grateful for the opportunity to compete at the Games.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” said Brayshaw “I’ve been a bit disappointed in how I’ve swam but everything else has lived up to the hype.”
Heading into the Games in Lima, the team’s objective was for the young swimmers to gain the experience needed to take the next step forward.
“The Parapan American Games provided our swimmers, our coaches and our team of expert support staff with an incredible opportunity to experience what a Paralympic Games is like,” said Lomas. “In addition to our team, I would also like to commend the Canadian Paralympic Committee for the way that they facilitate a truly high performance environment.”
Final results: https://www.lima2019.pe/en/results