MONTREAL – Valérie Grand’Maison of Montreal won Canada’s first gold medal on Wednesday at the International Paralympic Committee Swimming World Championships taking the women’s S13 disability category 100-m butterfly.
Brianna Nelson of Victoria added a bronze in the women’s S7 50-m freestyle. Canada has a gold, two silver and three bronze after three days of racing.
Grand’Maison won the race for visually impaired swimmers in one minute and 06.73 less than a second off the world record which has stood for 17 years.
‘’It’s so cool to win gold at home,’’ said Grand’Maison, 24, a four-time Paralympic Games champion. ‘’The crowd was amazing.’’
It was Grand’Maison’s second medal of the championships. On Monday she collected silver in the 200-m individual medley finishing 0.08 seconds behind Meyer. The sting of not winning that race was still fresh in her mind.
‘’In the last 25 metres tonight I thought about that 0.08 seconds,’’ said Grand’Maison. ‘’It was all about staying relaxed and focusing on my technique. When I touched the wall I was so happy. This is Canada’s first gold but not our last.’’
In the women’s S7 50-m freestyle, Nelson lowered the Canadian record twice en route to the bronze. A double Paralympic medallist in 2012, Nelson clocked 34.64 in the morning then 34.18 in the final. Danielle Campo of Windsor, Ont., had held the record for 13 years.
‘’This is a bit of a surprise for me,’’ said Nelson, 21, sixth in the event in London last year. ‘’The freestyle is not the stroke I focus on the most but again it all came down to technique. My coach told to make an adjustment and it worked.’’
Cortney Jordan of the U.S. won the gold medal in 33.42 and Susannah Rodgers of Britain was second in 33.84. Sarah Mehain, 18, of Vernon, B.C., posted a personal best 35.23 for fifth.
Other Canadian women finalists: Morgan Bird of Calgary and Camille Bérubé of Gatineau, Que., were fifth and seventh in the S8 400-m freestyle and Justine Morrier of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., eighth in the S14 100-m backstroke. Morrier broke the Canadian record in the preliminaries.
On the men’s side, Zack McAllister of Lethbridge, Alta., was fifth in the S8 400-m freestyle and Nicolas-Guy Turbide of Quebec City was seventh in the S13 100-m butterfly.
The event has attracted 480 swimmers from 55 countries and is the biggest gathering of para swimmers since London 2012. Competition continues through to Sunday at Parc Jean-Drapeau with preliminaries at 9 a.m. and finals at 5 p.m.
Sportsnet One will be airing a 30-minute highlights package featuring Canada’s top performances in the pool. The shows will air at 11 p.m. ET from Tuesday through Monday, with the exception of Saturday (11:30pm EST). TVA Sports will be presenting a daily show in French on its airwaves at 10 a.m. with an encore presentation at 2:30 p.m., from Tuesday through Monday.
Full results, schedule and start lists at: http://www.paralympic.org/events/montreal-2013/live-results