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One-two punch earns Canada a gold and silver medal at Rio Paralympics

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By Jim Morris

RIO DE JANEIRO – It was a one-two punch that ended with a golden knockout.

Aurelie Rivard won the S10 100-metre freestyle to collect her third medal of the 2016 Paralympics Tuesday night. Her victory came just a few minutes after Tess Routliffe won silver in the SM7 200-m individual medley.

Rivard, of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., won her second gold of the Paralympics in 59.31 seconds. That lowered the Paralympic record of 59.89 seconds she set during the morning preliminaries.

“I wanted the gold, which I got,” said the 20-year-old, who set the world record of 59.17 at last summer’s Parapan American Games in Toronto.  “I’m a little disappointed in my own performance. I own the world record so I wanted to break my own time. I know what I did wrong.

“I’m sure once I’m on the podium I will forget about this.”

Routliffe of Caledon, Ont., picked up the silver in a Canadian record time of three minutes, 02.05 seconds. That shaved close to two seconds off the old record held by Brianna Nelson.

Routliffe was in a battle during her race. She was fifth after the first 50 metres and setting fourth half way through the race.

“I’m used to having to fight until the last end of it,” said the 17-year-old who was second in the same race at last summer’s IPC Swimming World Championships. “In all my races it’s me coming back in the second half.

“That’s why I am who I am. I’m a fighter and I race. I just find it in me, the last little bit.”

“That’s why I am who I am. I’m a fighter and I race. I just find it in me, the last little bit.”

— Tess Routliffe


Nikita Howarth of New Zealand won in 2:57.29. Cortney Jordan of the U.S. took bronze in 3:04.17.

Sarah Mehain of Vernon, B.C., was fifth in 3:11.16. It was her last race of the Paralympics so she took a little time savouring the moment before stepping on the starting blocks.

“I wanted to soak it all in,” said Mehain, who finished fourth in Monday night’s S7 50-m butterfly.

“I looked at the people in the crowd, at my team that was cheering for me. I had so much fun absorbing all the positive energy.”

In her race Rivard had to fight off a late challenge from New Zealand’s Sophie Pascoe.

“She is an amazing athlete,” said Rivard. “She is super intimidating in the call room. She looks like she is going to kill me sometimes.

“I try not to see her too much before the race. It’s so great to be racing such an amazing athlete. She really works for what she wants, so I’m glad I was able to beat her this time.”

Pascoe finished second in 59.85 while Elodie Lorandi of France was third in 1:01.13.

Canada has won two gold and two silver medals in the pool.

Rivard 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.

Rivard said she’s concentrating on her next race, the 400-m freestyle, and hasn’t given too much thought about what she has accomplished so far.

“I hide them in my suitcase so I don’t see my medals when I’m at the village,” Rivard said. “Once my meet is over this is when I’m going to start to realize what happened.”

In the men’s S10 100-m freestyle Nathan Stein of Maple Ridge, B.C., finished seventh in 54.43 seconds.

Maksym Krpyak of Ukraine won in 51.08.

In other results Tuesday:

_ 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.