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Dorris ties own world record on opening night of Olympic & Paralympic Trials    

News –

TORONTO – Paralympian Danielle Dorris tied her own S7 world record in the women’s 50-m butterfly on Monday night as the Olympic & Paralympic Swimming Trials, Presented by Bell, got underway at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre. 

The competition runs through Sunday, with the Canadian teams for Paris 2024 set to be announced officially at the end of the final evening. 

By swimming an “A” qualifying time, Dorris of Moncton, N.B., put herself in position to be nominated to the Paralympic Team on Sunday night, subject to slot allocations of 15 women and seven men. 

Other Paralympic program athletes who met an “A” qualifying time on Day 1 included Tess Routliffe of Caledon, Ont., also in the women’s 50 fly S7, as well as Katie Cosgriffe of Burlington, Ont., in the women’s 100 fly S10.  

Meanwhile, three swimmers qualified under Priority 1 to be nominated to the Olympic Team, including 17-year-old phenom Summer McIntosh of Toronto in the women’s 400 freestyle, along with reigning Olympic champion Maggie Mac Neil of London, Ont., and Mary-Sophie Harvey of Trois-Rivières, Que., in the women’s 100 fly. 

In Para swimming, Dorris and Routliffe placed 1-2 in the women’s 50 fly multiclass final in 32.99 and 36.26.  

Dorris’ time equalled her Paralympic gold-medal performance from Tokyo 2020. The 21-year-old, who trains under Ryan Allen at Club de natation Bleu et Or in Moncton, is also the reigning two-time world champion in the event.  

“It feels great. Going to my third Games is very exciting and I keep saying that this Games will truly feel like my first,” said Dorris, who made her Paralympic debut at Rio 2016. “When I was at my first Games I was 13 so I don’t remember any of it, and then for Tokyo it was COVID so there were no fans. This time my parents are able to go. There’s going to be lots of people in the stands so very excited for that. 

“I think me and Tess definitely have a friendly rivalry going on,” she added about racing against her long-time national team teammate, who competed in Rio but missed the 2020 Games due to a broken back. “We push each other, so being able to see her in the corner of my eye, it just means I need to go faster. Having her beside me is great fun.” 

In the women’s 100 fly multiclass final, Cosgriffe set an S10 Canadian record of 1:06.75, lowering her own mark of 1:06.86 set in March at the Winter Ontario Championships. 

The 18-year-old from the Oakville Aquatic Club made her national team debut at the 2023 World Para Swimming Championships in Manchester, England.      

“I can go a little bit faster than that, so I’m hoping in a few more weeks I can improve that time, but it is a new Canadian record, so I can’t be unhappy with that,” Cosgriffe said.  

“Knowing that Paris is the goal that helps me show up every single day, I want to hopefully podium if that’s possible. So trying my hardest at every single practice and then seeing the results on the board is really, really nice.”  

In Olympic swimming, McIntosh dominated with a time of 3:59.06 in the women’s 400 free, an event in which she placed fourth as a 14-year-old in her first Olympic Games appearance in Tokyo. 

Ottawa’s Julie Brousseau was second in 4:08.12, just missing the Olympic Qualifying Time of 4:07.90. 

“It’s definitely great to qualify on my first night and kind of get that deal sealed,” said McIntosh, who trains with the Sarasota Sharks in Florida under coach Brent Arckey. “I think every time I swim the 400 freestyle, I learn a little bit more about how to swim the race. I think it’s one of the most strategic races in swimming. 

“I’m definitely not happy with that time, but I know I can go faster. I’ve got to keep pushing forward to Paris,” added the Torontonian, who holds the Canadian senior and world junior records of 3:56.08.  

In the women’s 100 fly final, Mac Neil prevailed in 56.61 and Harvey followed with a personal best 57.31.   

Despite her third-place finish, which wasn’t good enough to earn Priority 1 status, Rebecca Smith of Red Deer, Alta., also went under the Olympic Qualifying Time of 57.92, touching the wall in 57.89. 

“I’m feeling pretty good about everything overall,” said Mac Neil, from the London Aquatic Club, who won Olympic gold in the event in Tokyo in a Canadian record time of 55.59.  

“I think I’m probably a bit more happy with this morning, but obviously I want to see what my splits were and kind of work from there,” added Mac Neil, who went 56.54 in the preliminaries. 

Harvey, a 24-year-old from Montreal’s CAMO club, was thrilled to qualify to be nominated in an individual event after being part of the 4×200 free relay in Tokyo. 

“It feels great. I mean, who wouldn’t feel great about that? My goal after Tokyo was to qualify in an individual event, and I can finally say that it’s achieved, and I’m really happy.  

“This is a bonus swim, so I was just coming in like the underdog. The girls were a lot faster than me on paper before this race. So I was just going to go out, have fun, see how it goes, and then of course, I’m pleasantly surprised with the time.” 

Other Day 1 winners on the Olympic side were Alexander Axon of Newmarket, Ont., in the men’s 400 free and Tokyo Olympian Finlay Knox of Okotoks, Alta., in the men’s 100 breaststroke. 

Other Para swimming first-place finishers included Reid Maxwell of St. Albert, Alta., who set a Canadian S8 record of 1:06.34 in the men’s 100 fly multiclass final, as well as Charlie Giammichele of Hamilton in the men’s 50 fly. 

Also in the men’s 50 fly, Sebastian Massabie of Surrey, B.C., lowered his own S4 world standard in the morning preliminaries. The Pacific Sea Wolves Swimming Club athlete clocked 38.68 to better the 39.51 he posted last month at the WPS World Series in Indianapolis. 

A total of 857 athletes from 151 clubs across the country are competing to represent Canada at the Olympic Games (July 26-Aug. 11) and Paralympic Games (Aug. 28-Sept. 8) in Paris. Teams for the Junior Pan Pacific Championships (Aug. 21-24) in Canberra, Australia, and Open Water Junior World Championships (Sept. 6-8) in Alghero, Italy, are also being selected. 

Preliminary heats are at 9:30 a.m. ET each day, with finals sessions set for 6 p.m.  

All sessions are being streamed live by CBC Sports, with a nightly highlight show on CBC TV. Live streams can be watched on the free CBC Gem streaming service, and the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android devices. All sessions will be also streamed on TOU.TV and Radio-Canada Sports platforms, with highlight shows broadcast Saturday and Sunday from 3-5 p.m. on ICI Télé. Highlights from the Trials will also be featured on CBC Sports’ weekend programming block on Saturday starting at 4 p.m. ET and Sunday at 3 p.m. on CBC TV and CBC Gem.