MIAMI, Fla. – Paralympic legend Benoit Huot of Montreal may have punched his ticket for the Para Pan Pacific Swimming Championships with a strong performance Friday at the Can-Am Championships in Miami.
The 30-year-old won the men’s S10 200-metre individual medley in a time of 2:16.22, well within the qualifying standards to represent Canada at this summer’s Para Pan Pacs in Pasadena, Calif.
Huot was fresh off a stint as a Radio-Canada broadcaster and Paralympic ambassador in Sochi, Russia, where he wasn’t able to train at his usual intensity.
“It was an amazing experience but I knew by going to Sochi that I had to be here 10 days later and try to make that team. Being able to be on the team again this summer for Para Pan Pacifics is something that I’m very proud of,” Huot said.
The Can-Ams serve as a qualifier to select Canada’s national teams for the Commonwealth Games and Para Pan Pacs. The official Para Pan Pac team announcement will be made after the meet, while Commonwealth Games nominations will follow the Canadian Swimming Trials April 2-5 in Victoria.
Aurelie Rivard won three events Friday, taking the S10 women’s 200-metre individual medley in a time of 2:36.57. It was a solid performance overall for Rivard, although she was disappointed to miss the Commonwealth Games qualifying time in the 200-m IM.
“Overall it was good but obviously I’m disappointed about my 200 IM. It still was a good race and it was a good time for this time of the year,” Rivard said. “It was OK to be sad and disappointed for a moment but I don’t want to be negative for the rest of my swim meet so I just told myself that it wasn’t the end of the world. I still made my Pan Pacs time, so I just moved on and turned the page.”
The 17-year-old rising star from Club de Natation du Haut-Richelieu (Que.) also won the 50-m freestyle in a time of 28.80, giving her three qualifying times for Pan Pacs.
Jean-Michel Lavalliere of CN St-Jerome (Que.) won the S7 50-m freestyle in 31.80, earning him a qualifying time for Para Pan Pacs, then added a second, winning the 200-m IM in 2:54.68.
Donovan Tildesley of Vancouver’s UBC Dolphins also made two qualifying times, winning the S11 200-m IM in 2:34.35 and finishing second in the 100-m backstroke in 1:15.33
Nathan Stein of the Surrey (B.C.) Knights swam a qualifying time of 24.09 in the S10 50-m freestyle, just over a half-second off his national record. Victoria’s Brianna Nelson (Island Swimming) also made a Pan Pac qualifying time easily. The reigning Paralympic and IPC World Championships silver medallist swam the women’s S7 200-m individual medley in 3:07.27.
Two Canadians swam faster than the national record in the S14 200-m individual medley. Maxime Rousselle (Haut-Richelieu) bettered his own Canadian mark by 0.04 seconds with a heat time of 2:22.52, but was second to Adam Rahier’s 2:22.47, both faster than the Pan Pac qualifying standard. Rousselle then recaptured the record in the finals, winning in 2:21.58.
Rahier (Surrey Knights) and Rousselle finished first and third in the 100-m backstroke, with Gordie Michie of St. Thomas (Ont.) Jumbo Jets in between them. All three were under the qualifying standard, with Rahier leading the way at 1:07.28.
Danial Murphy of the Sackville (N.S.) Waves followed his four-Canadian-record performance from Thursday with another huge improvement to better his own national mark. This time he went 4:20.72 in the S5 200-m individual medley, lowering his previous best by more than two seconds. He went on to break his 50-m freestyle record in the evening at 43.50.
The three-day meet wraps up Saturday. Morning heats begin at 9 a.m., with finals starting at 5 p.m. Results are available on the Meet Mobile app, with complete results posted after each session at: