Aurélie Rivard caps Can Ams with win

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Nathan White

April 7, 2013, Minneapolis (ISN) – Paralympic medallist Aurélie Rivard of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., capped a solid weekend at the Can Am Para Swimming Championships with a victory in the 400-m freestyle on Saturday.

The competition is the only opportunity for Canadian Para swimmers to qualify for the 2013 IPC World Swimming Championships set for Aug. 11-18 in Montreal. Close to 30 Canadians met the standards and the world team is expected to be officially announced next month.

“I’m really pleased with our performances this week,” said Canada’s national Para swimming coach Craig McCord of Vancouver. “Everybody stepped up their game and it was exciting to see some of our younger athletes knocking at the door as well. Compared to four years ago we are light years ahead.”

Rivard went on cruise control for her race and was first in 4:47.33. It was in this event she made her international breakthrough winning the silver medal at the Paralympic Games.

”The time was slow but it wasn’t a close race,” said Rivard, 16, who also won the 50-m freestyle, 100-m freestyle and 100-m backstroke this weekend in the S10 disability category. ”My goal this year is to win gold at the world championships in the 400 and I’ll probably have to beat the Paralympic champion (Elodie Lorandi of France) to do that. With the worlds in Montreal as well I’m really excited about the challenge.”

Other Canadian winners in women’s races included Valérie Grand’Maison of Montreal in her 400-m freestyle and 100-m butterfly Brianna Nelson of Vernon, B.C., and Morgan Bird of Calgary in the 100-m butterfly; Kirstie Kasko of Okotoks, Alta., in her 200-m freestyle; Jeannick Leblanc-Normand of Montreal, Justine Morrier of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Maxime-Valérie Olivier of Montreal in the 50-m backstroke

On the men’s side, Danial Murphy of Halifax, who broke Canadian records in the 50-m butterfly and 50-m freestyle this week added gold in the S5 50-m backstroke and bronze in the 200-m freestyle on Saturday.

“It’s been a very successful week,” said Murphy. “Getting the records this early in the year is very encouraging for the rest of the season. My freestyle tonight was also much improved.”

Canadian winners in men’s competition included Devin Gotell of Antgonish, N.S., and Christian Daniel of Calgary in their 400-m freestyles; Daniel Gotell, Gordie Michie of St. Thomas, Ont., Chris Sergeant-Tsonos of Kingston, Ont., and Philippe Vachon of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu in the 50-m backstroke and Nicolas-Guy Turbide of Quebec City, Maxime Rousselle of St-Alexandre, Que., and Jean-Michel Lavalliere of Quebec City in the 100-m butterfly.

Full results: