News & Articles

Routliffe world record highlights strong Canadian showing in Berlin

News –

Paralympian Tess Routliffe of Caledon, Ont., captured a medal of each colour at the sixth leg of the 2024 Citi World Para Swimming World Series in Berlin, highlighted by a world-record performance on Saturday in the women’s 50-m breaststroke SB7.

Aurélie Rivard, the five-time Paralympic champion from Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., also starred for the 13-athlete Canadian delegation with a win in the women’s 200 freestyle multiclass final and bronze in the 50 free.

Both national team veterans were among 20 athletes nominated last month to represent Canada in Para swimming at the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games (Aug. 28-Sept. 8) following the conclusion of the Olympic & Paralympic Swimming Trials in Toronto.

Routliffe, who trains at Montreal’s High Performance Centre – Quebec, posted a winning time of 40.68 in the 50 breast to lower the first world standard of her distinguished career. American Ellie Marks held the previous SB7 record of 40.79 since 2017.

Remarkably, Routliffe’s time was over six seconds faster than her previous best of 46.72 from 2019, the same year fellow Paralympian Abi Tripp set the old national mark of 42.21.

The 25-year-old Routliffe had kicked off the Berlin meet on Thursday with bronze in the 100 breast and wrapped up the competition Sunday with silver in the 200 individual medley, in a SM7 Canadian record 2:54.53.

“We had a really good meet coming off a really good trials,” said the reigning 200 IM and 100 breast world champion. “We came here to rehearse races and see if we can do a little bit better, and we did that. We were rehearsing each race, were able to improve a few times. So that’s exactly what we wanted to do.”

After claiming silver in the 200 medley SM7 in her Paralympic Games debut in 2016, Routliffe missed Tokyo 2020 after she broke her back in training.

“It’s been eight years (since my last Games), so I’m just very excited to be able to perform and be at the top of the stage.”

Rivard, who holds the S10 world marks in all four freestyle distances from 50 and 400 metres, came close to her own standard in the 200 on Thursday when she prevailed in 2:09.31. Her record of 2:08.64, set in Berlin, has been standing since 2018.

The 28-year-old from Club de Natation Région de Québec in Quebec City added multiclass bronze in the 50 free on Saturday after placing fourth in the 100 on Day 2.

“I’m pretty pleased with my competition overall, despite the travel and everything,” said Rivard, a 10-time Paralympic medallist over three previous Games appearances. “I wanted to swim as close as possible to my times. I was able to swim faster than at trials and get close to my world record in the 200.

“It was also the first time that I’ve been able to compete against my rivals in my class since last summer’s world championships. It gives me a good idea of where I stand and gives me confidence for the next two months leading up to the Games.”

Meanwhile, Katie Cosgriffe of Burlington, Ont., was one of Canada’s busiest swimmers in the German capital, reaching three A finals and also competing in four B finals.

The 18-year-old from the Oakville Aquatics Club, who is set to make her Paralympic Games debut in Paris, claimed multiclass bronze in the women’s 50 backstroke in a personal best 32.39 and, while placing first in the B final of the 50 butterfly, set Canadian and Americas records with a time of 30.48.

Other Canadians who reached multiclass A finals in Berlin included Paralympians Abi Tripp of Kingston, Ont., in the women’s 50 breast (6th), Sabrina Duchesne of Saint-Augustin, Que., in the women’s 400 free (6th) and Alec Elliot of Kitchener, Ont., in the men’s 100 fly (8th).

The Citi World Para Swimming World Series resumes later this week in Limoges, France (June 7-9) and will wrap up with two events in the fall, after Paris 2024.