By Jim Morris
RIO DE JANEIRO _ The long wait was worth it for Nicolas-Guy Turbide.
Turbide swam an America’s record 59.93 seconds for the second fastest qualifying time in the S13 100-m backstroke in Saturday’s primaries at the Rio 2016 Paralympics.
Devin Gotell of Antigonish, N.S., also reached the final, qualifying eighth in one minute 6.56 seconds.
Also looking for medals during the final night of swimming will be Abi Tripp of Kingston, Ont., in the S8 200-m individual medley; Gordie Michie of St. Thomas, Ont., in the S14 200-m IM; and the men’s 34-point 4x100-m medley relay.
Canada has won seven medals _ four gold, two silver, one bronze _ in the pool at Rio.
Turbide broke the old record of 1:01.31 he set during the Olympic and Para-swimming Trials in April. It also was the first time the visually impaired swimmer from Quebec City swam under one minute.
“I didn’t know if I could go a best time this morning,” said the 19-year-old. “I couldn’t ask for anything better. It’s looking good for tonight.”
Turbide had to wait for the last day of the Paralympic swim meet for his best event. He swam a personal best time Wednesday to finish eighth in the S13 50-m freestyle.
“It was a long wait but I think the anticipation built up and the excitement built up during the week,” he said. “I think that’s what kept me going this morning.”
Gotell is looking forward to the excitement of a final.
“It feels good to experience that rush in the evening session,” said the 26-year-old. “There is definitely a lot more of an intense air in that situation.”
Ihar Boki of Belarus qualified first in a Paralympic record time of 56.82 seconds.
Tripp is hoping the third time is the charm. She swam a Canadian record time of 2:57.30 to qualify eighth in the S8 200-m IM. It will be her third final of the Paralympics.
“I haven’t been feeling great,” said Tripp, who has battled stomach trouble this week. “To make a final was very surprising.
“I will give it everything I’ve got tonight and see what we can do.”
Tripp took 1.47 seconds off the record she set in April.
Jessica Long of the U.S., led all qualifiers in 2:44.45.
Michie qualified eighth in the S14 200-m IM in 2:19.85.
“It was really good,” he said. “That was a pretty decent time for a morning swim.”
Marc Evers of the Netherlands had the top qualifying time of 2:12.07.
In other results Saturday morning:
_ Morgan Bird of Calgary finished 10th in the S8 200-m individual medley in 3:07.03 while Sabrina Duchesne of St-augustin, Que., was 14th in 3:17.01.
_ Tyler Mrak of Surrey, B.C., was 11th in the S13 100-m backstroke in 1:11.88.
_ Danial Murphy of Bedford, N.S., was 14th in the S5 100-m freestyle in 1:32.00
_ Tammy Cunnington of Red Deer, Alta., was 11th in the S4 50-m freestyle in 51.97.