CAIRNS, Australia – Nicolas-Guy Turbide of Quebec City broke his own Americas record in the men’s 200-metre individual medley SM13 while Tess Routliffe of Caledon, Ont., also set a national mark Saturday as the Canadian team racked up an impressive 10 medals on Day 3 of the 2018 Pan Pacific Para-Swimming Championships in Cairns, Australia.
Turbide, a 2016 Paralympian who trains at Club de Natation Région de Québec with coach Marc-André Pelletier, triumphed in 2 minutes, 15.03 seconds after going 2:17.51 in the morning preliminaries, leaving Japan’s Genki Saito more than four seconds behind (2:19.13). The 21-year-old had set the previous Americas and Canadian standards of 2:15.06 on Oct. 4, 2017 at the Canadian Open in Toronto.
“I had a big challenge in front of me tonight. This morning, I gave it everything I had and my time made me question myself a little in preparation for the final. I knew I had a lot of work to do tonight in terms of intensity and working on some technical aspects,” said Turbide, who holds five Canadian records in total. “I’m really happy with how it went. New Americas and Canadian records, it’s the best outcome that could have happened under the circumstances.”
Michel Bérubé, Swimming Canada’s NextGen & Pathways Coach, Para-swimming, who oversees Turbide at this week’s championships, was impressed with his turnaround performance in the evening.
“I was really pleased. Nicolas had done 2:15.06 once in his life, and before that he only had swims in the 2:16 and 2:17’s, so I think that’s a big step forward for him and good preparation for his 100 back tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, in the women’s 200 IM, Routliffe, a 19-year-old protégée of coach Mike Thompson at CHP-Québec in Montreal, claimed SM7 silver in 3:01.51 to shatter the previous Canadian standard of 3:02.05 she had set at the last Paralympic Games in Brazil, where she also merited second place.
“I’m really happy with that race. It’s a personal-best time since Rio and I kept my world ranking. I’m just really happy to be back at it, and racing was a lot of fun again. I’m just feeling the same as I did in Rio, and maybe even a bit better,” said Routliffe. “I was really happy with kind of everything about that race. I think I brought it back a lot harder than I did in the morning and it showed.”
Other Canadian highlights on Day 3 included two more gold, two additional silver and four bronze medals, as well as three more personal-best times.
In the first individual final of the evening, the women’s 50 backstroke, Tammy Cunnington of Ponoka, Alta., captured S4 gold in 1:10.25. Moments later, Alec Elliot of Kitchener, Ont., prevailed in the men’s 200 medley SM10 with a PB of 2:15.45.
“In the prelims this morning I went 1:10 and change. I was hoping to improve on that tonight. I did make some improvements and saw some positive changes in the final but unfortunately still finished with the same time,” said Cunnington, a 2016 Paralympian from Red Deer Catalina Swim Club. “In the final, I had the fastest 25 ever in 50 back but when I tried to pick it up at the 35-metre mark, unfortunately my technique slipped away from me a little bit. I’m disappointed but encouraged moving forward, knowing there’s improvement to be found and more potential to be exploited.”
Elliot, also a member of the Canadian Paralympic team in Rio, was setting a PB for the third straight day following his silver-medal performance in the 400 freestyle on Thursday and a fourth-place finish in Friday’s 100 free.
“I had a really great morning swim. I was pretty confident. I swam it exactly as I needed to come back tonight and do a really nice best time,” said the Region of Waterloo Swim Club member. “It was a really solid swim, I was out nice and quick and I was able to hold my form. I think I’m looking pretty good going into Day 4 after three really awesome races so far at this meet.”
“It’s a major drop when you’re 22-years-old to shave off 0.6 seconds in the 200 IM,” added Coach Bérubé, referring to Elliot’s previous best of 2:16.03 that dated back to the same championships in 2014 in Pasadena, California.
The women’s 200 IM produced four more Canadian medals, including silver for Aurélie Rivard of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que. (SM10 – 2:30.05) and Katarina Roxon of Kippens, Nfld. (SM9 – 2:44.83) as well as bronze for Angela Marina of Cambridge, Ont. (SM14 – 2:39.18) and 15-year-old Danielle Dorris of Moncton, N.B. (SM8 – 2:59.62). Matthew Cabraja of Brampton, Ont., rounded out Canada’s podium finishes in the men’s 200 medley with a third position in the SM11 category (2:54.37).
Dorris, who competed in Rio as a 13-year-old two years ago, established a personal best and was happy to reach a mark that had so far proved elusive in her young career.
“The race went very well. I swam the same 50 fly as I did in the morning and then I built on it throughout the rest of the race, which was very good because I finally broke the three-minute barrier.”
Canada’s final medal on Saturday came in the women’s 4×100 medley relay (34 points) as Shelby Newkirk of Saskatoon and Sarah Girard of Montreal teamed up with Dorris and Rivard to take bronze in 5:04.43.
“It’s a new relay team. I swam with three new girls and it was a good first experience,” said Rivard, who now has four medals at the championships after capturing S10 gold in the 400 free on Thursday and in the 100 free on Friday, the former in world-record time.
Rounding out Canada’s individual results on Day 3, all in the 200 IM, were a fourth-place finish for Abi Tripp of Kingston, Ont. (SM8 – 3:00.45) and sixth place for Justine Morrier of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu (SM14- 2:45.59) in women’s competition, as well as a fourth position for Philippe Vachon of Blainville, Que. (SM8 – 2:35.68) and fifth for Zach Zona of Waterford, Ont. (SM8 – personal best 2:38.90) in men’s action.
In the women’s 4×100 medley relay, the Canada B squad comprised of Tripp, Routliffe, Calgary’s Morgan Bird and Roxon finished fourth in 5:34.65.
“We continue to chase our best times ever. That is the benchmark we will judge ourselves by at these championships,” said Wayne Lomas, Swimming Canada’s Associate Director of High Performance and Para-swimming National Coach. “Throughout this campaign, we have spoken of the importance attached to achieving lifetime bests when representing Canada. We saw that again tonight with five personal-best times out of 13 individual swims. We focus on the process and learn from every performance, and trust that the results will follow.”
The 2018 Pan Pacific Para-swimming Championships continue through Monday at Tobruk Memorial Pool in Cairns. Finals begin at 5 p.m. local time every night (3 a.m. ET).
Full results available here: http://liveresults.swimming.org.au/SAL/2018PARP/