BERLIN – Valérie Grand’Maison of Montreal completed a sparkling week at the German Open competition for swimmers with a disability on Sunday with a silver medal performance in the women’s 50-metre butterfly.
Canada has fielded its 20-member Paralympic Games team for the competition. The Games are this September in Beijing.
In the women’s 50 fly, Olena Akopyan of the Ukraine won the gold medal in the multi-disability standings followed by Grand’Maison who clocked 30.61 seconds establishing a Pan American and Canadian record for the S13 category for the visually impaired.
“I didn’t have my favorite events today but I still came out strong,” said Grand’Maison who lowered two world records this week. “I improved by half a second in the fly and came close to the world record. It really shows I’m strong physically and mentally to have those performances at this point in the season.”
Kirby Cote of Winnipeg and Chelsea Gotell of Antigonish, N.S., were fifth and eighth in the 200 breaststroke, Gotell and Cote were sixth and eighth in the 400 freestyle and Stephanie Dixon of Victoria sixth in the 100 backstroke.
In junior competition, Canadian Paralympians added three more medals.
In the women’s 50 butterfly, Brittany Gray of Barrie, Ont., took silver in the 50 butterfly while Amber Thomas of Drayton Valley, Alta., and Gray were third and fifth in the 400 freestyle. Brianna Nelson of Victoria added a bronze in the 100 backstroke with Thomas eighth.
Thomas, the youngest member on the Paralympic team at 14, posted personal best times in her 400 freestyle and 100 backstroke races.
“I was most happy with my 400 freestyle because I took off so much time and won the medal,” said Thomas. “I’m going to take a lot from this experience to Beijing.”
Katarina Roxon of Corner Brook, Nfld., and Nelson were fourth and eighth in the 100 backstroke.
In men’s junior competition, Drew Christensen of New Westminster, B.C., and Devin Gotell of Antigonish, N.S., were fifth and sixth in the 400 freestyle and Christensen was also eighth in the 100 backstroke.
Gotell improved his personal best time by seven seconds in the 400 freestyle
“I feel I was just more concentrated on my race,” said Gotell. “And I went about it differently than before and that helped a lot. It’s one of my main events and the Paralympics my goal is to make the finals and keep ahead of all the newcomers.”