Adam Purdy celebrates bronze medal swim with birthday gift for his son

August 13, 2015

Adam Purdy victory wave

TORONTO: Simon Purdy celebrated his fifth birthday Thursday night so his dad went out and got him a special present.

Adam Purdy, who ended a seven-year retirement in 2014 to compete at the Toronto Parapan American Games, swam a personal best 33.80 seconds to claim the bronze in the S6 50-meter butterfly.

“I’m so proud I am able to give him a medal,” said Purdy, 34, of London, Ont.

In other races Aurelie Rivard won her fifth gold of the meet in the S10 100-m backstroke and Sarah Mehain notched her first win with a victory in the S7 50-m butterfly.

Ben Huot, Morgan Bird, Jean-Michelle Lavalliere, Zack McAllister and Nicolas Turbide all won silver. The 4x100-m 34-point relay team of Nathan Stein, McAllister, Zona and Lavalliere were second in 4:07.66.

Canadian swimmers won 12 medals Thursday (two gold, six silver, four bronze). That pushed their total to 78 (20-33-25). The goal coming into the meet was 80-85.

Brazil tops the table with 88 medals (30-24-34).

Purdy, of London, Ont., competed at three Paralympic Games and four IPC World Championships before he left the sport to attend school and raise his family. Having the Parapan Am Games near his home town convinced him to return.

He won a bronze medal in the mixed relay earlier in the week, but the bronze Thursday was his first individual medal.

“It was awesome,” said the 34-year-old, who has an impairment called arthrogryposis, which impacts the joint and muscle development of his limbs. “To shave that much time off, to feel that good in the water and do it in front of my family and friends, it was phenomenal.”

Rivard, of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., splashed to victory in the S10 100-m backstroke in a Parapan Games record one minute, 9.72 seconds. Samantha Ryan, of Saskatoon, was eighth in 1:21.36.

The 19-year-old wasn’t feeling well and had considered not swimming the race.

“After the 400-m, this is the race I’m the happiest to swim well,” she said.

“I didn’t know how fast the other girls would swim so I told myself to just give what I’ve got. I gave everything I had and nothing less. If the race was 101 meters, I’m sure I wouldn’t be talking right now.”

Rivard, who was born without a left hand, has won the 100-m fly, 200-m individual medley, 50-free and 400-m free. She also has a silver in the 100-m breaststroke.

Mehain, of Montreal, clocked a Parapan Games record 37.07 to win the S7 50-m fly. The win came after two second-place finishes.

“It’s fun to finally get up there and use that little bit of racing strategy,” said the Vernon, B.C., native who now attends McGill University. “More than that, it was the time and the technical aspects I have been working on. It feels so good to be able to get a best time.”

Tess Routliffe, of Caledon, Ont., was fourth in 39.12 seconds.

Huot, of Longueuil, Que., said his silver in the S10 100-m backstroke helped compensate for finishing second in Wednesday night’s 200-m IM.

“I was sad with yesterday’s race,” said the 31-year-old who was timed in 1:01.62. “Coming back . . . I said ‘Ben have fun, just enjoy.’

“Yesterday I was too serious, not having very much fun. Today I had fun.”

Alec Elliot, of Kitchener, Ont., was third in 1:02.37.  Stein, of Maple Ridge, B.C., finished fourth in 1:07.49.

After winning her first two races, Bird was second in the S8 100-m freestyle in 1:10.53.

“I just went in with the mindset to give it all I got,” said the Calgary resident.

Abi Tripp, of Kingston, Ont., had a personal best time of 1:14.43 for fourth. Sabrina Duchesne, of Quebec City, was fifth in a personal best 1:16.89.

McAllister, of Lethbridge, Alta., took silver in the S8 100-freestyle in 1:01.61. Zona, of Waterford, Ont., was fourth in 1:04.81 while Chris Sergeant-Tsonos, of Kingston, was fifth in 1:05.95.

Lavalliere, of Montreal, won silver in the S7 50-m freestyle in 34.13 seconds. He was joined on the podium by Nathan Clement, of West Vancouver, B.C., who was third in 34.21.

“I just dug deep,” said Clement. “It was a long road to get here.”

Scott Patterson, of Vancouver, was eighth in 53.00.

The day began with Katarina Roxon, of Kippens, NL, winning bronze in the S9 100-meter backstroke in a personal best time of 1:20.59.

The competition has attracted 228 athletes from 19 countries to the Parapan Am Aquatic Centre and Field House. For full results go to

In other results:

_ Danial Murphy, Bedford, N.S., sixth S5 50-m backstroke in 54.81. Andrew Cooke, Penticton, B.C., seventh in 55.22.

_ Valerie Drapeau, Longueuil, seventh S5 50-m backstroke in 1:04.19

_ Jonathan Dieleman, Vancouver, seventh S4 150-m IM in 3:38.50.