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Newkirk breaks world record at Para-swimming Canadian Open

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TORONTO – Shelby Newkirk of Saskatoon set a world record in the S7 100-metre backstroke on the second night of the Para-swimming Canadian Open at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre.

Newkirk, a national team rookie, broke German Kirsten Bruhn’s record by swimming the race in 1 minute, 21.43 seconds.

“Going into it, I knew I was close and I knew what my goal times were,” said Newkirk, who trains out of the Saskatoon Laser Swim Club with coach Eric Kramer.

“I just went in with full focus on getting it and I just stomped my feet into the wall to get a rhythm and I really tried to push it through the first 50. I know after that turn, I looked up and I could see that I was under my goal time, so I pushed and went full out. When I touched the wall, I wasn’t quite sure if I got it or not so I had to wait until I was at the side to find out but I was super excited when I did.”

Two other records fell today. Tammy Cunnington and Justine Morrier broke their own Canadian records in the 50-m freestyle and 100-m breaststroke.

Cunnington, of Red Deer, Alta., broke her own Canadian record in the S4 50-m freestyle. Her time of 51.95 bested her previous mark of 51.97 set in 2016.

Morrier of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., also broke her own Canadian record. She beat her best by over a second to go 1:24.23 in the SB14 100-m breaststroke.

“In my last 50 I knew I was hurting but I had to keep going,” said the 20-year-old. “I thought about my technique throughout the race and it allowed me to get the record.”

In the men’s 100-m backstroke, Nicolas-Guy Turbide raced alongside teammates Benoit Huot and Alec Elliot. Turbide touched in at 59.94 while Huot and Elliot finished in 1:01.06 and 1:02.26.

“The goal today was to have fun with Alec and Ben next to me,” said Turbide. “We switched the focus totally, going from World Championships to this and we’re just enjoying it as much as we can and I think that’s what I did today, it was a lot of fun.”

Turbide and Huot were both medalists in this event at the 2016 Paralympic Games.

Aurelie Rivard sprinted to a 28.03 in the 50-m freestyle. Rivard won gold in this event at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio.

“I did okay. It wasn’t a bad race technically but I think the only thing I was missing was the momentum,” she said. “It wasn’t a terrible race but I wish I would’ve gone faster.”

James Leroux of Repentigny, Que., was just off his best in the 100-m breaststroke. The High Performance Centre – Quebec swimmer touched in at 1:09.69, 0.23 off his best.

Telkwa, B.C., native Jonathan Dieleman was the lone swimmer in the 50-m breaststroke. The 32-year-old finished in 50.25.

“A good second night of racing with a world record and a couple of Canadian records,” said James Hood, Swimming Canada’s Senior Manager, High Performance Para-swimming Programs. “It’s a tough transition but the swimmers have adapted really well from a World Championships to coming home to a domestic dual meet against our partners in Australia.”

“It’s great to see a rookie step up, stand out and set a new world record. Shelby has come a long way in her programming, from 2-3 years ago, the work she’s done in Manitoba with Karen Williams and moving to Saskatoon to work with Eric Kramer. All of those pieces have helped build her foundation in order to be able to excel.”

The 2017 Para-swimming Canadian Open continues through Wednesday at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre. Finals begin at 6:15 p.m. ET every night.

Full results available here: