MIAMI, Fla. – The road to the Commonwealth Games begins Thursday as the Can Am Para-Swimming Championships begin in Miami, Fla.
Canada’s top Para-swimmers will be among the 227 athletes from eight countries in action through Saturday at the Can Ams. In addition to competitors from the U.S., Cameroon, Colombia, Costa Rica, France, Mexico and Russia, 78 Canadian athletes will vie for the chance to represent Canada at this summer’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. The meet will also serve as the selection meet for Canada’s team at the Pan Pacific Para-Swimming Championships, which take place in Pasadena, Calif., later in the summer.
Paralympic medallists Benoit Huot, Brianna Nelson, Nathan Stein, Aurelie Rivard and IPC World Championships medallists Morgan Bird and Katarina Roxon will be among those in action.
“The selection criteria that we’ve set for these two selections are very tough,” said Craig McCord, Swimming Canada’s Para-swimming National Coach. “People are going to have to swim fast in order to make the team.”
It’s the first of two back-to-back selection meets for Swimming Canada, as able-bodied athletes prepare for the Canadian Swimming Trials April 2-5 in Victoria. The Commonwealth Games feature both Para and able-bodied athletes, while each team will attend a separate Pan Pacific Championships, which are in Gold Coast, Australia for the able-bodied team.
“We’re essentially 24 months out of Paralympic Trials for (the 2016 Paralympics in) Rio and this is our first full dress rehearsal for selection,” McCord said. “Our expectation is that 2014 and 2015 selection meets are rehearsing the process the swimmers are going to use to be selected to the Paralympic team in 2016.”