PASADENA, Calif. – Aurélie Rivard and her Commonwealth Games teammates Katarina Roxon and Morgan Bird are about to complete a rare double assignment in the world of Para-swimming. The trio just competed at the Commonwealth Games and are back in action this week at the Para Pan Pacific Championships.
The Para Pan Pacs run this Wednesday to Sunday at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Centre in Pasadena.
Rivard, for one, is not intimidated by competing at both events. The 18-year-old is already a young veteran in the sport. Her first international success was actually at the 2011 Para Pan Pacs in Edmonton. At age 15, she collected bronze medals in the 400-m freestyle and 100-m breaststroke.
She made her major international breakthrough at the 2012 Paralympic Games where she won silver in the 400-m freestyle and reached four more finals in the S10 category.
A year later at home in Montreal she reinforced her position as one of the top young athletes in the sport with three silver medals and two bronze at the IPC World Championships.
‘’I’ve never done back-to-back international competitions,’’ said Rivard, who was born with a disability in her left hand. ‘’I didn’t change the way I trained. I’m not worried about doing two meets on the same taper.’’
Rivard rejoined her teammates at the staging camp for the Para Pan Pacs in Richmond, B.C., on July 31 and travelled with the team to California two days later. The first half of her assignment at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow was highly successful. She took the bronze medal in the 200-m individual medley and improved her personal best time by five seconds in the 100-m breaststroke for fourth place.
The Commonwealth Games are a multi-sport competition that includes events for athletes with a disability. The integration which started in 2002 has been wildly successful.
‘’Along with the 2012 Paralympics, the Commonwealth Games were the highlight of my career so far,’’ said Rivard. ‘’We were full members of the Canadian team and it was a thrill to train alongside our able bodied swimmers like Ryan Cochrane.’’
At the Commonwealth Games, Roxon also established two personal bests and Bird was fourth in the 100-m freestyle
Rivard and the other Canadian Para-swimmers expect a tough competition in Pasadena. The Canadians are facing powerhouses such as the U.S. Japan, Australia Brazil and New Zealand.
‘’I’ don’t like to set goals in terms of medals,’’ said Rivard, who’ll race in the 50-m, 100-m and 400-m freestyles, 100-m backstroke and 200-m IM this week. ‘’I just want to go out there and do my best swims.’’