Canadian Para swimmers reach 10 finals on Day 2 of Madeira 2022
MADEIRA, Portugal – After opening the 2022 World Para Swimming Championships on Sunday with a sensational six medals, the Canadian team couldn’t add to its podium tally on Monday but still managed to reach 10 finals at the Penteada Olympic Swimming Complex.
Tokyo 2020 Paralympians Shelby Newkirk of Saskatoon and Sabrina Duchesne of Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures, Que., came closest to the podium for Canada on Day 2, finishing fourth in the women’s 100-m freestyle S6 and the women’s 400 free S7, respectively.
Newkirk clocked one minute, 15.21 seconds in her second final in as many nights to break her own Canadian S6 record, and shave off over two seconds from her morning time. The 25-year-old was crowned world champion in the 100 backstroke S6 on opening night.
“I’m definitely happy,” said Newkirk, who trains under Ryan Jones at the Saskatoon Lasers Swim Club. “All you can do is do your best in the water and whatever place you come in, that’s just kind of how it works. You can’t control what other people are doing. I’m super proud to have been able to move up in the rankings and, more importantly, drop some time from the preliminaries and have a better race.”
Duchesne touched the wall in 5:34.42 in the 400 free S7. The 21-year-old keeps moving up the world rankings in the event after placing fifth in Tokyo and sixth at the 2019 Worlds in London.
“It’s not necessarily the time I was hoping for, but in terms of positioning and world rankings, I keep improving,” said Duchesne, who trains with coach Johanne Girardin at Club de natation Rouge et Or in Quebec City. “I would have liked to set a better time but I went faster than at Trials, so I’ll take it.”
Senior team coach Mike Thompson was pleased with the delegation’s overall performance.
“We hadn’t set our expectations overly high for the second day,” said Thompson, head coach of the High Performance Centre-Quebec in Montreal. “Many of our best events were on the first day. Today, we had some really good progressions, good experience and some pretty great highlights.
“You look at a young guy like Félix (Cowan), who trains with us in Montreal, and who moved to fifth spot in the morning prelims with a huge best time. It’s his first national team, his first world championships. He got himself some great experience. Clémence (Paré) making her first world championship final. There was a lot of great experience gained today.
“You’re going to have days where you have great events that are set up for medals, and you have people in medal position, and you have other days when it’s not going to happen.”
In the final of the men’s 200 individual medley SM10, Alec Elliot of Kitchener, Ont., matched his result from last summer’s Paralympic Games with a fifth-place finish in 2:16.67.
In the women’s 150 IM SM3, Tokyo teammates Nikita Ens of Meadow Lake, Sask., and Aly Van Wyck-Smart, a 19-year-old from Toronto, were fifth and sixth, respectively, with times of 4:28.73 and 4:56.59.
Ens was less than two seconds from the Canadian record of 4:26.74 she set in the Japanese capital.
In the men’s 100 back S8, Félix Cowan of Brossard, Que., placed sixth in his Worlds debut, clocking 1:13.58. The 19-year-old had set a personal best of 1:12.16 in the morning.
Also taking sixth position was Matthew Cabraja of Brampton, Ont., in the men’s 100 butterfly S11, thanks to a time of 1:07.41. It was the 20-year-old’s first final of the competition following his 11th–place finish in the 50 free on Sunday.
Making her sixth career appearance at Worlds, four-time Paralympian Katarina Roxon of Kippens, NL, was also sixth in her Madeira 2022 debut, in the women’s 200 IM SM9.
In the women’s 100 free S4, Jordan Tucker, a world championship debutant from Guelph, Ont., finished seventh in 2:03.30. She had also taken seventh place the night before in the 100 breaststroke SB4.
In the women’s 50 back S5, 19-year-old Clémence Paré of Boucherville, Que., finished her first career world championship final in eighth position with a time of 1:03.51.
Finally, in the last event of the evening, the mixed 4×50 free 20-point relay, Newkirk, Tucker and Cowan teamed up with Jacob Brayshaw of Coldstream, B.C., to rank seventh in 3:51.68, an improvement of over two seconds from the preliminaries.
World Para Swimming moved to mixed gender relays only at these championships, and Canada was competing in its first 20-point relay at a major international meet since the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games.
“We haven’t had enough people to make the math work on the 20-point relay for quite some time. It’s amazing that we got the people here to do it,” Thompson said. “Tonight, we changed things up a little compared to this morning, trying to go from fastest to slowest, and we were two seconds faster. Again, we’re here to give these guys experience.”
Five other Canadians swam in morning preliminaries on Monday, with two of them recording personal bests.
Emma Grace Van Dyk of Port Colborne, Ont., placed ninth in the women’s 100 back S14 (personal best 1:14.20) while Angela Marina of Cambridge, Ont., finished 12th in the same event (1:16.33).
Abi Tripp of Kingston, Ont., was ninth in the women’s 100 back S8 (1:30.09); Arianna Hunsicker of Surrey, B.C., took tenth place in the women’s 200 IM SM10; and Zach Zona of Simcoe, Ont., ended up 11th in the men’s 100 back S8 (personal best 1:15.92).
The seven-day competition runs until Saturday, with preliminaries set for 9 a.m. local time (4 a.m. ET / 1 a.m. PT) and finals starting at 5 p.m. (noon ET / 9 a.m. PT) daily.
All finals are livestreamed on the Canadian Paralympic Committee’s Facebook page and Paralympic.ca as well as CBC Sports digital platforms: the free CBC Gem streaming service, cbcsports.ca, and the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android devices.
Full results: https://www.paralympic.org/madeira-2022/schedule-results