TORONTO: Like circling sharks Canadian swimmers are ready to sink their teeth into their first medals at the Toronto Parapan American Games.
Tammy Cunnington, of Red Deer, Alta., qualified for two S4 finals during Saturday morning’s preliminary events and the men are looking at a sweep of the S12-13 200-meter individual medley event for the visually impaired.
Nicolas-Guy Turbide of Quebec City swam a personal best two minutes, 21.54 seconds to take the fastest qualifying time into Saturday night’s final of the 200 IM. Devin Gotell of Montreal was second in 2:29.51 while Tyler Mrak of Aldergrove, B.C., was fourth in 2:31.69.
“For a morning swim I couldn’t hope for anything better,” said Turbide. “It was awesome. I really enjoyed it.”
Turbide believes the home-field advantage will help Canada take all three podium spots.
“I think we might have a chance,” said the 18-year-old. “Anything is possible, especially when you have the crowd behind you and the team.”
Cunnington, who was left a paraplegic following an accident at an airshow when she was six years old, swam in the day’s first heat. She qualified third overall in the 100-meter freestyle in 2:02.17
“That was fantastic,” she said. “It was a great way to start the day.
“I was a bit worried about being in the first race.”
She later qualified for the 50-m freestyle third overall in 57.60 seconds.
Camille Berube of Ottawa and Sabrina Duchesne of Quebec City will both be looking for medals in the S8 100-meter backstroke.
Berube, who has an impairment in both legs, had the second-best qualifying time of 1:25.20. Duchesne, who has cerebral palsy, was fourth in 1:30.53.
Abi Tripp of Kingston, Ont., also swam a qualifying time but was disqualified for a false start.
The competition has attracted 228 athletes from 19 countries to the Parapan Am Aquatic Centre and Field House. For full results go to http://results.toronto2015.org/PRS/en/swimming/schedule-and-results.htm.
Other Canadians competing in Saturday night finals include:
Riley McLean of Vernon, B.C., in the S4 50 and 100-m freestyle; Christian Daniel of Calgary in the S6 400-m freestyle; Gordie Michie of St. Thomas, Ont., Dalton Boon of Ladner, B.C., and Maxime Rousselle of St-Alexandre, Que., in the S14 200-meter freestyle; Justine Morrier of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., and Kirstie Kasko of Okotoks, Alta., in the S14 200-m freestyle; Jean-Michel Lavalliere of Montreal and Scott Patterson of Vancouver in the S7 400-m freestyle; Chris Sergeant-Tsonos of Kingston, Ont., in the S8 100-m backstroke; Andrew Cooke of Penticton, B.C., and Danial Murphy of Bedford, N.S., in the S5 100-m freestyle; and Valerie Drapeau of Longueuil, Que., in the S5 100-m freestyle.
Press attaché- para-swimming