Grand’Maison grabs gold and silver

swim canada-2

Nathan White

April 5, 2013, Minneapolis (ISN) – Paralympic champion Valérie Grand’Maison of Montreal launched her 2013 season in successful fashion on Friday earning gold in the 200-metre individual medley and silver in the 50-m freestyle at the Can-Am Para Swimming Championships.

The competition is the only opportunity for Canadian Para swimmers to qualify for the 2013 IPC Swimming World Championships set for Aug. 11-18 in Montreal.

Grand’Maison, who swims in the S13 category for visually impaired, dominated the 200-m IM. Her time of 2:35.19 was more than three seconds ahead of Rebecca Meyer of the U.S.

In the 50-m freestyle Grand’Maison took the silver in 28.81, behind her arch-rival Kelley Becherer of the U.S., first in 27.84.

Last year in London, Grand’Maison capped a great but stressful comeback from a shoulder injury to win three medals.

”I’m very satisfied with my races tonight,” said Grand’Maison, who won gold and broke the world record in the 200-m IM at the London Games last year. ”I really didn’t know what to expect. I came here to make the team of course but also to have fun. I’ve kept myself in good condition this winter and I’m excited about the worlds in Montreal.”

Paralympic medallist Aurélie Rivard and Justine Morrier, both of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., were double winners placing first in their respective 200-m IMs and 100-m backstrokes.

Other Canadian winners in women’s competition included Maxime-Valérie Olivier of Montreal and Morgan Bird of Calgary in the 50-m freestyle; Brianna Nelson of Vernon, B.C., in the 200-m IM; and Kirstie Kasko of Okotoks, Alta., in the 50-m breaststroke.

On the men’s side, it was a big night for 16-year-old Nicolas-Guy Turbide of Cap-Rouge, Que., who won gold and set personal best times in both the S13 200-m IM and 100-m backstroke.

”These are the kind of performances I was hoping for,” said Turbide, who started swimming at age 12. ”I even split my 100 backstroke which I’ve never done and I improved upon every stroke in the 200 IM. When I heard the worlds were coming to Montreal and I was close to the standards I was pretty excited about it.”

Other winners in men’s competition included Devin Gotell of Antigonish, N.S., Maxime Rouselle of St-Alexandre, Que., Christian Daniel of Calgary and Chris Sergeant-Tsonos of Kingston, Ont., in the 50-m freestyle; Rousselle, Danial Murphy of Halifax, Scott Patterson of Vancouver and Jean-Michel Lavalliere of Quebec City in the 200-m IM; Adam Rahier of Port Moody, B.C., and Daniel in the 100-m backstroke and Lavalliere in the 50-m breaststroke.

Benoit Huot of Montreal was upset in his 200-m IM race placing second to Ian Silverman of the U.S. Huot won gold and broke the world record in the event at the Paralympics last year. Huot was also second in the 100-m backstroke.

Competition ends Saturday

Full results: