VICTORIA – Chelsey Gotell of Antigonish, N.S., broke her world record in the 200 backstroke on Saturday at the Can Am Open competition for swimmers with a disability while Stephanie Dixon of Victoria lowered two national marks.
The meet is the last competitive opportunity for Canada’s 21-member Paralympic swim team, which includes Gotell and Dixon, before the Paralympic Games start this September in Beijing.
In the women’s 200 backstroke in the S13 class for the visually impaired, Gotell clocked two minutes and 35.04 seconds to eclipse her previous world mark of 2:36.62 set in 2003.
“I’ve been working hard on my backstroke this year for the Games,” said Gotell, who won four medals at the 2004 Paralympics. “It’s really nice to break that barrier although it wasn’t something that I felt was crucial at this point in the season. Tonight I went in thinking about my technique a lot more. I did the little things right and that made the difference.”
Dixon bettered the national records in the 200 individual medley and 50 butterfly events in the S9 class with 2:41.45 and 32.98 clockings respectively.
“Everybody stepped up their game tonight and we are bang on track where we want to be,” said Canadian national team coach Craig McCord of Vancouver. “And it should be even better tomorrow. Stephanie showed she’s still very strong and did a really good job.”
Also breaking Canadian records were Jacqueline Rennebohm of Regina in the S12 50 butterfly clocking 32.53, Drew Christensen of New Westminster, B.C., in the men’s S8 50 butterfly in 31.59 and Donovan Tildesley of Vancouver in the men’s S11 400 freestyle in 4:42.00.
“The performance tonight showed me that I have a whole heck of lot left in the tank,” said Tildesley, who bettered his national mark by more than four seconds. “I think I can drop at least another couple of seconds for the Games. Plus I haven’t been able to go under 4:50 all year so to go 4:42 is a real coup and shows I’m on track.”
Competition ends Sunday.
Full results available at: https://www.swimming.ca/liveresults/08canam/