SANTIAGO, Chile – Canada’s team of 14 athletes capped off the 2023 Parapan American Games with a total of 10 medals (one gold, three silver, six bronze) and a Parapan American Games record.
On the final night of racing Justine Morrier from VELOX Natation captured the final medal for Canada in the 100-m butterfly (S14) taking bronze.
“It was a big relief,” said Morrier. “I was disappointed with my 100 breaststroke and missing the podium in 0.02 seconds. I felt good in the water and I was focused. I really wanted a medal.”
It was a close race to the wall, but this time Morrier was the one out-touching American swimmer Piper Sadowski by 0.05 seconds to get onto the podium.
Alisson Gobeil from Club Natation Juvaqua d’Alma just missed the podium by 0.09 seconds finishing fourth 100-m freestyle (S5).
Tyson MacDonald from the High Performance Centre – Québec finished the week of competition as the most decorated Canadian. MacDonald now has a total of six Parapan American Games medals – three from Lima 2019 in 200-m freestyle, 100-m backstroke, 200-m individual medley and three in the same events in Santiago.
“I think Tyson has executed wonderfully,” said Team Leader Emma Van Steen, Swimming Canada’s senior manager, high performance Para swimming Programs. “It’s a big credit to the High Performance Centre – Québec that helped set him up and achieve his objectives.”
The 27-year-old from Woodstock, Ont., led the team as one of five members to have experience at a multi-sport Games, but also being Canada’s top medal finisher in Santiago with two bronzes and a silver.
“He is a leader to his peers. He leads by action and with support,” added Van Steen. “I was really impressed with everyone overall. A lot of athletes will be striving for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games and for Los Angeles in 2028. This has provided a good experience for them to have under their belt.”
Meanwhile, rookies to the team including Ruby Stevens from the Variety Village Aquatic Club, who captured Canada’s first gold of the Games and a Parapan American record in the 100-m backstroke on night one; Fernando Lu from the Langley Olympians Swim Club, and Jagdev Gill from McGill University, all made their debut appearances and first-time international podium finishes.
“They all rose to the occasion,” said Head Coach Ryan Allen from Club de Natation Bleu et Or in Moncton, N.B. “Our relay stepped up on the final night and Justine out-touching for our last medal, it’s just all a testament of how they carried themselves. Everyone was very organized and mature with what they did and the performances we saw were really because of that.”
“Our team showcased Canada’s ongoing talent in both the pool and amongst our staff,” added Swimming Canada’s Associate Director of High Performance and Para Swimming National Coach Wayne Lomas. “Each team member was given the challenge to achieve at least three things this week: have fun, perform the best they can on the day that matters and learn something new that they can take home and work on as they prepare for the next event.”
With the 2023 season coming to a close, the Paralympic program will now look ahead to 2024 with the Para Swimming World Series kicking off in Aberdeen, Scotland, Feb. 1-4.
Women’s 100-m backstroke (S6): Ruby Stevens, Variety Village Aquatic Club
Men’s 50-m freestyle (S10): Fernando Lu, Langley Olympians Swim Club
Men’s 200-m individual medley (SM14): Tyson MacDonald, HPC- Québec /ROW
Men’s 200-m freestyle (S14): Tyson MacDonald, HPC- Québec /ROW
Men’s 100-m backstroke (S14): Tyson MacDonald, HPC- Québec /ROW
Men’s 100-m butterfly (S10): Fernando Lu, Langley Olympians Swim Club
Men’s 100-m freestyle (S10): Jagdev Gill, McGill University
Women’s 100-m backstroke (S14): Emma Van Dyk, Brock Niagara Aquatics
Women’s 100-m butterfly (S14): Justine Morrier, VELOX Natation
Women’s 50-m butterfly (S5): Jordan Tucker (swim up), Royal City Aquatics
Full results of all events from the 2023 Parapan American Games can be found here.