CAIRNS, Australia – Nicolas-Guy Turbide of Quebec City and Danielle Dorris of Moncton, N.B., both set national records on Monday as the Canadian team racked up 11 more medals on the final day of the 2018 Pan Pacific Para-Swimming Championships in Cairns, Australia.
Over five days of competition, the Canadian delegation tallied an impressive 40 podium finishes (14-10-16) and 24 personal-best times, while setting one world, three Americas and 10 national marks.
“I was really impressed with our team this week, and how they continue to build a really strong team culture,” said Vince Mikuska, Swimming Canada’s Senior Coach, Paralympic program. “The athletes rose to all of the challenges that the coaching staff set for them this week. It was a great response, very good meet.”
On the final evening of the quadrennial championships, Turbide, a 21-year-old who trains at Club de Natation Région de Québec with coach Marc-André Pelletier, claimed silver in the men’s 50-metre freestyle S13 with a time of 25.18 seconds to shatter his own record of 25.41 set on July 22 at the Canadian Trials in Edmonton.
It marked the third national standard in as many nights for the 2016 Paralympian, who had previously set Americas records in the 200 individual medley SM13 and the 100 backstroke S13.
Moments later, Turbide added his fourth PB of the meet, earning bronze in the 100 butterfly S13 thanks to a 1:00.82 swim, exactly one second faster than his time from the Canadian Trials on July 21.
“It was well under my previous best time in the 50 free from a few weeks ago. It’s nice to see such a big improvement in just a few weeks and how the rest seemed to help,” said Turbide, who ended the competition with four medals, including two gold, one silver and one bronze. “That race prepared me well for my second event of the evening.”
Dorris, the youngest member of the team at only 15 years of age, posted a 1:18.20 in the morning preliminaries of the women’s 100 fly S8 to break the previous national record of 1:18.87 set by current Team Canada teammate Morgan Bird at the 2013 world championships in Montreal. She couldn’t quite recreate her performance in the evening final but still took bronze in 1:18.31.
The 2016 Paralympian, whose previous PB in the event was 1:19.72, had also set a Canadian standard on Sunday in the 100 back S8, claiming silver in the process.
“I’m still very happy with tonight’s swim,” said the Club de Natation Bleu et Or standout, who reached the podium three times (0-1-2) and collected a trio of personal bests in Cairns. “I had an amazing time in Australia. I’d like to thank all of our coaches, and everyone involved with these championships.”
Canada received gold medals on Day 5 from Aurélie Rivard of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., and Alec Elliot of Kitchener, Ont., who both excelled throughout the championships.
Rivard, a triple Paralympic Games gold medallist from CHP-Québec in Montreal, won the women’s 50 free S10 final in 27.72 to complete a sweep of the three individual freestyle events at the meet.
The 22-year-old had kicked off the competition on Thursday by breaking her own world record in the 400 free and leaves Australia with seven medals (3-2-2) in as many races – including two relays – to match her performance from the 2014 Pan Pacific Para-Swimming Championships in Pasadena, California.
“I’m really pleased with my race. It was my best time since Rio. I really wanted to win the race, it was my main goal,” said Rivard. “I don’t really train much for that event, so I’ll try to focus more on it over the next two years. I’m really happy to have won gold in all three freestyle events at these championships.”
Elliot, a 22-year-old member of the Region of Waterloo Swim Club, triumphed in the men’s 100 fly S10 in 58.21 to add to his victories in the 200 IM and 100 back, as well as a silver medal in the 400 free. The 2016 Paralympian set three personal bests along the way.
Other Canadian medals on Day 5, all of the bronze variety, included Morgan Bird of Calgary in the women’s 50 free S8 (31.81); Danielle Kisser of Delta, B.C., in the women’s 50 free S6 (43.32); Matthew Cabraja of Brampton, Ont., in the men’s 50 free S11 (28.82 – PB); Justine Morrier of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu in the women’s 100 fly S14 (1:13.08); Philippe Vachon of Blainville, Que., in the men’s 100 fly S8 (1:06.49); Tammy Cunnington of Ponoka, Alta., in the women’s 150 IM SM4 (3:35.60 – PB); as well as the women’s 4×100 free relay (34 points) comprised of Rivard, Bird, Katarina Roxon of Kippens, Nfld., and Tess Routliffe of Caledon, Ont. (4:30.00).
Cunnington also placed sixth in the women’s 50 free S4 (56.32), Elliot finished fourth in the men’s 50 free S10 (25.55), Angela Marina of Cambridge, Ont., ranked fifth in the women’s 100 fly S14 (1:14.31), Zach Zona of Waterford, Ont., was sixth in the men’s 100 fly S8 (1:11.23), and the Canada B relay of Danielle Dorris, Shelby Newkirk of Saskatoon, Sabrina Duchesne of St-Augustin, Que., and Abi Tripp of Kingston, Ont., was fourth in the women’s 4×100 free (5:10.24).
“I’m really happy with all the girls tonight,” said Routliffe following the closely-contested relay race. “We really pushed through and we were able to come close to our best time which we did in Rio two years ago. That’s as fast as we’ve been since. I did everything I could to get there at the end and tried to out-touch my competitor, but that’s just how it went.”
Wayne Lomas, Swimming Canada’s Associate Director of High Performance and Para-swimming National Coach, was thrilled with the Canadian team’s overall performance in Australia.
“For the 12 athletes who created a new PB, this is a well-deserved reward for their hard work and their coaches’. The lessons from the Canadian Trials in Edmonton plus those gained here in Cairns are a perfect springboard for everyone as they plan and prepare for world championships in Malaysia next year and eventually Tokyo, which is our main aim.
“I’d like to congratulate every member of our team here in Cairns and the support team back in Canada, plus the supporters who joined us here, for helping us deliver such a promising team performance on the journey to Tokyo.”
Full results available here: http://liveresults.swimming.org.au/SAL/2018PARP/