The Canadian para swimming trio of Aurélie Rivard, Katarina Roxon and Morgan Bird will leave Glasgow early Wednesday morning with en route to the Pan Pacific Para-Swimming Championships in Pasadena, California, bringing with them a bronze medal and loads of encouragement.
Friends as well as teammates, they were the only Paralympians on the Canadian swimming team of 33.
“It’s been amazing, I’m so happy,” said Roxon. “This is my second Commonwealth Games. Myself and Benoit Huot were the only paras that went [to Delhi 2010] and I didn’t know anybody. It was still a good experience, but I’m really glad I got to share this experience with my friends Morgan Bird and Aurélie Rivard who are part of the para team as well. So it was really good having all three of us here together.”
Rivard, of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., won Canada’s only para-swimming medal. She took bronze in the women’s 200-m individual medley SM10 on Tuesday with a time of 2:32.09, her second personal best of the day.
“I was hoping for silver but the girl that got the silver, we always race really close,” said Rivard. “I really enjoyed [the Commonwealth Games]. I get to train with Ryan Cochrane, Katerine Savard, it’s pretty great. I can watch and learn from them. It’s awesome. I’ve never experienced it in my life.”
Roxon placed fifth in a new personal best time of 2:43.19.She usually competes in a different disability class than the one offered in Glasgow (as she has a more involved disability than her competitors in Glasgow), so for her the event was about challenging herself.
“I love competing at the Commonwealth Games,” Roxon said. It’s really exciting to have the paras included with the able-bodied. They include us in everything and make us feel really welcome. So I love it.”
The Pan Pacific Para-Swimming Championships run Aug. 6 to 11.
High-resolution photos available here (Courtesy Swimming Canada/Ian MacNicol):