By Jim Morris
RIO DE JANEIRO – Aurelie Rivard is right where she wants to be, which has put her in the hunt for her third medal of the 2016 Paralympics.
Rivard, of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., cruised to a Paralympic record time of 59.89 seconds in the S10 100-metre freestyle for the fastest qualifying time Tuesday morning.
“My goal was to finish the race and qualify first,” said the 20-year-old, who set the world record of 59.17 at last summer’s Parapan American Games in Toronto.
“It’s a pretty amazing time. I didn’t give my all. I know I have a lot left for tonight.”
Rivard feels comfortable racing in Lane 4 in the final.
“It makes me feel a lot stronger mentally,” she said. “I know some guys like being on the outside lane so people don’t expect them.
“For me, I have to be in the middle. It gives me a boost of confidence. People next to me try to beat me. I like to be ahead. I like to see everybody in the pool.”
Rivard is one of four Canadians who reached the finals.
Tess Routliffe of Caledon, Ont., had the second fastest qualifying time in the S7 200-m individual medley while Sarah Mehain of Vernon, B.C., was fifth. Nathan Stein of Maple Ridge, B.C., qualified sixth in the S10 100-m freestyle.
Rivard’s swim lowered the old Paralympic record of one minute, 00.89 seconds held by New Zealand’s Sophie Pascoe. Pascoe finished second in qualifying in 1:01.54.
Routliffe swam 3:04.87 to set herself up well heading into the S7 200-m IM final. She won a silver medal in the same race at last summer’s IPC Swimming World Championships.
“I think back to worlds and it can of shows me what I can do,” said the 17-year-old.
“I’m excited to see what I can do tonight.”
— Tess Routliffe
Mehain, who finished fourth in Monday night’s S7 50-m butterfly, swam 3:14.82.
New Zealand’s Nikita Howarth had the fastest qualifying time of 2:58.82.
Stein was clocked in 54.56 in the S10 100-m free, well off his personal best time of 52.86. He believes he can go faster in the final.
“It wasn’t really a good time,” he said. “It was pretty relaxed.
“I felt pretty sluggish this morning. I’m going to come back at it way harder tonight. There’s a lot of work to be done. It’s in me.”
Maksym Krypak of Ukraine qualified fastest in 51.52 seconds.
Rivard has won both of Canada’s swimming medals so far in Rio.
She claimed Canada’s first gold of the Paralympics Friday, winning the S10 50-metre freestyle in a world record time of 27.37 seconds. She added silver Sunday in the S10 200-metre individual medley.
In other results Tuesday morning:
_ Nydia Langill of Mississauga, Ont., was 10th in the S7 200-m IM in 3:44.41.
_ Alec Elliot of Kitchener, Ont., swam a personal best 55.28 to finish 11th in the S10 100-m freestyle. Isaac Bouckley of Port Hope, Ont., was 13th in 56.16.
_ Samantha Ryan of Saskatoon was 17th in the S10 100-m freestyle in 1:08.65.
_ Abi Tripp of Kingston, Ont., was 10th in the S8 100-m backstroke in 1:24.82, 13-year-old Danielle Dorris of Moncton, N.B., was 15th in a personal beset time of 1:29.20 and Sabrina Duchesne of St-augustin, Que., was 17th in 1:32.63.