SANTIAGO, Chile – Tyson MacDonald and Emma Grace Van Dyk earned a bronze medal each Sunday and Jordan Tucker added another Monday to bring Canada’s medal total to six at the Parapan American Games in Santiago, Chile.
Sunday evening saw two strong backstroke performances from veterans. MacDonald, from the High Performance Centre – Quebec, kicked things off with a bronze medal time of 1:03.57 in the 100-m backstroke S14. MacDonald has now medaled twice in this event as he won gold four years ago at Lima 2019.
“It was a great race,” said MacDonald, who also took bronze in the 200-m freestyle Saturday. “It was a big day yesterday, so this morning I just wanted to come in controlled and relaxed and I did exactly that. I hope it is motivating to everyone else that is behind the blocks”.
There was no break between medals as Emma Grace Van Dyk from the Brock Niagara Aquatics Club delivered another strong performance. Van Dyk touched the wall in a time of 1:13.34 and captured bronze in the women’s 100-m backstroke S14.
“It feels good,” said Van Dyk. “I dropped two seconds from this morning so it was a great swim.”
Van Dyk is competing at her second Parapan Am Games and enjoys the environment they bring.
“This one has been fun. There’s more people to talk to and chances to get to know other countries.”
In a direct final event Monday morning, Tucker added bronze in the women’s 50 butterfly. The S4 swimmer from the Royal City club in Guelph, Ont., was swimming up in the S5 category, and the race came directly after her sixth-place finish in the 150-m individual medley.
“On the second one, I just went all out,” said Tucker, who missed this summer’s world championships due to an elbow injury. “It’s been feeling really good so far. I really loved the experience here so far”.
Sunday started with excitement as Alisson Gobeil from Le club Juvaqua d’Alma, lowered her own Canadian record in the morning with a time of 55.91 in the women’s 50-m backstroke S5. Gobeil currently holds four Canadian records.
“It’s incomparable,” said Gobeil when asked what the Games experience has been like. “Just this morning was incredible with breaking that record. I think I have had good practices and part of it was adrenaline.”
While most of the team is at their first international games, it doesn’t show.
“I want to highlight how mature, responsible and professional they have been about everything we have done so far,” said Head Coach Ryan Allen of Club de Natation Bleu et Or in Moncton, N.B. “I think the performance that we’re seeing is directly related to how they are carrying themselves.”
“I’m really happy with everyone’s performances” added Team Leader Emma Van Steen. “They are improving on their times from the morning and that is what we want to see. It’s great to see both the veterans and the newcomers really put on good performances”.
Racing continues until Friday with streaming on CBC Gem.