GrandMaison, Huot cap successful swimming competition for Canada at Paralympic Games

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BEIJING – Valérie Grand’Maison of Montreal and Benoit Huot of Longueuil, Que., capped another solid performance for Canadian swimmers at the Paralympic Games on Monday with medal performances.

The Canadian swim team completed the Games with 23 medals (seven gold, seven silver and nine bronze).

In the women’s 50 freestyle for visually impaired Kelly Becherer of the U.S.

, took the gold in 27.85 seconds. Grand’Maison followed for silver in a personal best 27.88. Kirby Cote of Winnipeg was fourth and Chelsey Gotell of Antigonish, N.S., sixth.

It was a great competition for Canada’s three visually impaired female swimmers. They swept the medals in two races and combined for 13 medals and four world records.

Grand’Maison completed the Games with the six medals – three gold, two silver, a bronze and two world records. Gotell added two gold, both in world record time, a silver and two bronze and Cote finished with two silver.

‘’Kelly deserved to win today but I wasn’t happy with my race,’’ said Grand’Maison, 19, completing here first Games. ‘’I wanted to go faster. Overall these Games have been amazing for me. They’ve helped me gain a lot of experience and I will go back to training as a stronger and better swimmer.’’

In the men’s 400 freestyle in the S10 class, Andre Brasil of Brazil clocked a Paralympic Games record for the victory in 4:05.84. Robert Welbourn of Britain was second in 4:07.61 and Huot collected his fourth bronze finishing in a personal best 4:12.14.

‘’I’m feeling so much better,’’ said Huot, who has battled a virus during the Games. ‘’I’m just sad I’m finally feeling better but the Games are over. That’s life, it happens. I’m heading back home with a hunger to work harder and catch those world records.’’

Stephanie Dixon of Victoria was Canada’s other multimedallist in swimming with a gold, two silver and a bronze in the S9 class along with one world record. Anne Polinario of Montreal added a gold in her 50 freestyle and Canadian flag bearer Donovan Tildesley took a bronze in his 400 freestyle for visually impaired.

Canadian national team coach Craig McCord said the team achieved its goals. Eleven of the 21 team members were competing at their first Games.

‘’I was very pleased with the performance of our veterans and equally impressed with our first timers,’’ said McCord. ‘’They got some great experience and hopefully they’ll challenge for a podium in four years. The world is much stronger now and we’ll have a task ahead of us to keep being big players in the pool.

‘’We saw here that Paralympic sport no longer plays second fiddle to the Olympics. It’s a partner. These athletes train as hard and perform at the same level as an Olympian.’’

Here are the Canadian swimming medallists at the Paralympic Games:

Gold (7)

  • Valerie Grand’Maison, Montreal, S13, 100 butterfly
  • Valerie Grand’Maison, Montreal, S13, 400 freestyle
  • Valerie Grand’Maison, Montreal, S13, 100 freestyle
  • Chelsey Gotell, Antigonish, N.S., S13, 200 individual medley
  • Chelsey Gotell, Antigonish, N.S., S13, 100 backstroke
  • Stephanie Dixon, Victoria, S9, 100 backstroke
  • Anne Polinario, Montreal, S10, 50 freestyle

Silver (7)

  • Kirby Cote, Winnipeg, S13, 100 butterfly
  • Kirby Cote, Winnipeg, S13, 200 IM
  • Chelsey Gotell, Antigonish, N.S., S13, 100 freestyle
  • Stephanie Dixon, Victoria, S9, 200 IM
  • Stephanie Dixon, Victoria, S9, 400 freestyle
  • Valerie Grand’Maison, Montreal, S13, 100 backstroke
  • Valerie Grand’Maison, Montreal, S13, 50 freestyle

Bronze (9)

  • Chelsey Gotell, Antigonish, N.S., S13, 100 butterfly
  • Chelsey Gotell, Antigonish, N.S., S13, 400 freestyle
  • Stephanie Dixon, Victoria, S9, 100 freestyle
  • Benoit Huot, Longueuil, Que., S10, 100 freestyle
  • Benoit Huot, Longueuil, Que., S10, 200 IM
  • Benoit Huot, Longueuil, Que., S10, 50 freestyle
  • Benoit Huot, Longueuil, Que., S10, 400 freestyle
  • Donovan Tildesley, Vancouver, S11, 400 freestyle
  • Valerie Grand’Maison, Montreal, S13, 200 IM

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Full results at: http://results.beijing2008.cn/WRMP/ENG/Schedule/index.shtml

More information

In Beijing:

Erin Sulpher
Communications Coordinator
Swimming Canada
Cell: 011 86 135 2103 4322
E-mail: esulpher@swimming.ca

In Canada

Martin Richard
Director of Communications
Swimming Canada
Tel: 613- 260- 1348 (ext. 2002)
Cell: (613) 725-4339
E-mail: mrichard@swimming.ca

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