Fifth medal for swimmer Katarina Roxon

August 13, 2015

Katarina Roxon

TORONTO: The backstroke remains a work in progress for Katarina Roxon, but her bronze medal Thursday morning in the S9 100-meters at the 2015 Toronto Parapan American Games proves she is moving in the right direction.

“I think it’s improving,” said the Kippens, NL, native, who won her fifth medal of the Parapan Am meet. “It’s going well.

“There’s progress there, little step by step.”

Roxon was third in the race in a personal best one minute, 20.59 seconds. Brazil’s Camille Rodgrigues won in 1:16.15.

The third-place finish improved Canada’s swimming total to 67 medals (18 gold, 27 silver and 22 bronze.). The goal is to win between 80 and 85.

Breaststroke is Roxon’s best event. She won the 100-m breast at the Parapan. The 200-meter individual medley is another event she excels at, but backstroke is her weak link in the four-stroke event.

“I really have to push the backstroke on that,” said Roxon, who was born with her left arm missing below her elbow. “I’m a lot slower in the backstroke than most of the other girls because it’s not my race.

“This coming year I am going to push a lot more in the backstroke, work on the little things. I want to see how well I do in Rio for my 100 back.”

Roxon, who won silver this week in the 200 IM, 50 free and 400-m free, was pleased with her result in Thursday’s morning session.

“I’m really happy about it,” she said. “Going into that race I was just looking at it as a fun race and seeing how well I could do.”

Morgan Bird will be looking to earn her third gold of the meet when she races the S8 100-m freestyle Thursday night.

The Calgary native set a Parapan Games record of 1:11.15 for the fastest qualifying time.

“I think it was pretty solid and I know what I can improve on,” said Bird, who has cerebral palsy. “I am pretty excited.”

Abi Tripp, of Kingston, Ont., had the fourth best qualifying time of 1:16.09 while Sabrina Duchesne, of Quebec City, was fifth in 1:18.12.

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

Sarah Mehain, of Montreal, swam a Parapan Am record 38.14 for the fastest qualifying time in the S7 50-m butterfly. Tess Routliffe, of Caledon, Ont., was fourth in 39.88 while Nydia Langill, of Mississauga, Ont., was 10th in a personal best 46.15.

In other races Thursday night, Aurelie Rivard will be looking for her fifth gold medal in the S10 100-meter backstroke; Benoit Huot and Alec Elliott will race in the S9-10 100-m backstroke; and Jean-Michelle Lavalliere will be looking for the podium in the S7 50-meter butterfly.