MONTREAL – Benoit Huot and Valerie Grand’Maison each won gold Thursday to highlight a five-medal performance for Canada’s best night so far at the International Paralympic Committee Swimming World Championships.
Aurélie Rivard of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., added silver then helped Canada’s 4×100-m freestyle women’s relay to another second place finish and Sarah Mehain of Vernon, B.C., also won a bronze.
In the men’s 200-m individual medley in the S10 disability category, Huot clocked two minutes and 10.34 just 0.33 seconds off his world record set at his fourth Paralympic Games last year. Andre Brasil of Brazil was second in 2:13.19 and Ian Silverman of the U.S., third in 2:14.42. Isaac Bouckley of Port Hope, Ont., was seventh.
‘’Nearing the end of my career I really wanted to enjoy this competition,’’ said Huot, 29, of Montreal. ‘’I wanted to live this experience with my friends and also help increase the awareness of Paralympic sport. I wish I could have broken that world record but in that last 25 metres I was really hurting.’’
Grand’Maison and Rivard each collected their third individual medal of the competition.
In the women’s S13 50-m freestyle for visually impaired, Grand’Maison took the world title in 27.96. Anna Krivshina of Russia was second in 28.00 and Elena Krawzow of Germany was third in 29.21.
‘’That was the hardest 50 freestyle in my life,’’ said Montreal’s Grand’Maison, just 0.08 seconds off her national record. ‘’It was hard to refocus after last night’s gold but I just told myself it’s one length and try not to breathe too much. My start wasn’t the best so I had to play catch up.’’
The 17-year-old Rivard continued to amaze clocking a personal best 2:33.68 to tie for second with Kathrine Downie of Australia. Nina Ryabova of Russia won the race in 2:30.71.
‘’This was a bit unexpected because I haven’t competed in this event since the Paralympics,’’ she said. ‘’My splits and time were good in the prelims so I felt it I could make an impact in this race.’’
In the women’s 4×100 freestyle relay, Rivard, Morgan Bird of Calgary, Katarina Roxon of Stephenville, N.L., and Brianna Nelson of Victoria clocked a Canadian record 4:35.41 for second spot behind a powerful British foursome.
‘’We knew we had to do the race of our lives to get in the medals,’’ said Roxon. ‘’This is a first international medal for Morgan and I. It feels amazing.’’
Sarah Mehain of Vernon, B.C., earned her first major international medal placing third in the S7 50-m backstroke in a personal best 1:29.43. Kirsten Bruhn of Germany was the winner in 1:23.99 and Cortney Jordan of the U.S. second in 1:25.32.
‘’This was the time for me to get on the podium,’’ said Mehain, 18. ‘’I just kept the focus on my own race.’’
Other Canadian women finalists were Roxon fourth in the S8 100-m breaststroke in a personal best time and 16-year-old Danielle Kisser of Delta, B.C. who place eighth and lowered her Canadian record in the S6 200-m IM.
Donovan Tildesley of Vancouver was seventh in the men’s S11 100-m freestyle as was Canada’s men’s 4X100 freestyle relay.
Competitors in classifications S1 through S10 have a physical limitation, while classifications S11 through S13 are for competitors with a visual impairment. A lower number indicates a more severe condition.
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.