Thomas Swinkels

It came down to the wire for Thomas Swinkels to earn his spot on the Parapan American Games swimming team. The Can Am Championships in Gatineau, Que., were his last opportunity to meet the standards and make the team and he delivered under pressure with a personal best time in the 100-metre breaststroke. Swinkels knew he had trained very hard for the Can Ams but still wasn’t sure he could deliver the standard. He beat it by three seconds crediting an adrenaline rush and an improved water kick.

What’s also amazing about Swinkels’ presence on the team is the fact he only started swimming at age 15 after attending a program in which everyone had to try a new sport. He never expected that he would progress so fast and ultimately be in contention for a spot on next year’s Paralympic Games team.

Swinkels got a taste of what the Paralympics would be like last year when he worked as a volunteer at the Vancouver-Whistler Paralympics at the Whistler athlete village. He is currently in his final year of high school. Swinkels competes in the S10 category and has a congenital back condition.


2011 Guadalajara Parapan AmsSwimming100m Breaststroke - Menbronze


Games Sport Event Result
2011 Guadalajara Parapan Ams Swimming 50m Freestyle - Men 5
2011 Guadalajara Parapan Ams Swimming 100m Freestyle - Men 5
2011 Guadalajara Parapan Ams Swimming 400m Freestyle - Men 5
2011 Guadalajara Parapan Ams Swimming 100m Breaststroke - Men 3