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Tess Routliffe gets confidence boost at Can Am Para-swimming Championships

Para-swimming –

By Jim Morris

GATINEAU, Que. _ The wins were nice but the confidence boost was even better for Tess Routliffe.

The S7 swimmer from Caledon, Ont., won three races during Saturday’s second day of competition at the 2016 Speedo Can Am Para-swimming Championships.

The 17-year-old began the night winning the 50-metre freestyle in 34.91 seconds. She took the 100-m breaststroke in one minute, 41.64 seconds, then won the 100-m backstroke in 1:32.55.

Routliffe has been balancing high school with her preparation for this summer’s Paralympic Games. The victories showed she is headed in the right direction on the road to Rio de Janeiro.

“It’s a big stepping stone for me,” she said. “I’ve had a few rough months.

“I’m really happy with the swims today. I’ve improved. I like where it’s coming and I like where it’s going. It feels good. I’m getting the confidence back.”

Aurelie Rivard of St-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, Que., who is expected to challenge for multiple medals at the Rio Paralympics, won two S10 races. She took the 50-m freestyle in 28.64 seconds, then won the 100-m backstroke in 1:13.25.

Rivard said the meet is serving an important role in her preparation for Rio.

“It’s definitely a training meet,” said Rivard, who just missed breaking a world record in the 200-m freestyle Friday night. “I’m not prepared to swim fast. It’s really part of my training to see where I am at.

“It’s a chance to race, part of the whole process.”

Morgan Bird of Calgary won her second event of the weekend, taking the S8 50-m freestyle in 32.63. She was followed by her Paralympic teammates Abi Tripp of Kingston, Ont., in 33.92 and Sabrina Duchesne of Quebec City in 36.39.

Bird was satisfied with her results but knows there’s more work to be done.

“It’s a good snap shot of where I am now,” said Bird, who won the 400 free final Friday. “It feels really good to be at those times and swimming really well.

“There are some tweaks and some technical stuff that I can work on in order to perfect them for Rio.”

“I’m really happy with the swims today. I’ve improved. I like where it’s coming and I like where it’s going. It feels good. I’m getting the confidence back.”

Nathan Stein of Maple Ridge, B.C., won the S10 50-m freestyle in 24.40 seconds. His Paralympic teammates Alec Elliot of Kitchener, Ont., was second in 26.42 and Isaac Bouckley of Port Hope, Ont., was third in 26.74.

The event, being held at the Centre sportif de Gatineau, has attracted 120 swimmers from six countries.

The Can Ams is serving as a training event for the 22 members of the Canadian team that will compete at this summer’s Paralympics.

For other Canadians competing this weekend, it’s a chance to gain results to help secure funding for next season. Some other athletes are also posting times to help them qualify for the NextGen Camp program for the coming year.

In other results:

_ Mexico’s Miranda Herrera set a world record in the S4 50-m freestyle in 39.52 seconds.

_ Katerina Roxon of Kippens, NL, won the S9 50-m freestyle in 31.39 and the S8 100-m breaststroke in 1:26.65.

_ Nicolas Turbide of Quebec City won the S13 50-m freestyle in 26.63 and the 100-m backstroke in 1:00.85.

_ Tammy Cunnington of Red Deer, Alta., lowered her Canadian record in two events. She swam the 50-m freestyle in 52.03 seconds and the 50-m breaststroke in 1:15.91.

_ Elliot won the S10 100-m backstroke in 1:05.90

_ Gordie Michie of St. Thomas, Ont., won the S14 100-m backstroke in 1:06.17.

_ Danielle Kisser of Delta, B.C., placed second in the S6 100-m backstroke in 1:45.27, which broke her own Canadian record.

The competition ends Sunday with morning preliminary heats beginning at 9:30 a.m. ET and finals starting at 6 p.m. ET. For full results and more information visit