By Jim Morris
RIO DE JANEIRO _ Aurelie Rivard won her third gold medal and broke a second world record while Benoit Huot wrote a storybook ending by winning a bronze in what could be his last Paralympic race Thursday night.
Rivard won the S10 400-metre freestyle in 4:29.96, shaving 2.83 seconds off the old world record set by France’s Elodie Lorandi in 2013. About two hours later she anchored the 34-point 4x100-m freestyle relay to a fifth-place finish in Canadian record time.
Huot swam a personal best 4:04.63 to finish third in the S10 400-m freestyle. After touching the wall, he looked at the clock then pumped his fists in celebration.
After their races Rivard, 20, and Huot, 32, hugged each other. Tears mixed with laughter.
Rivard said she wanted to set a world record but was surprised by her time.
“I’m so happy, I really wanted it,” said the native of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., who now has won three gold and a silver medal in Rio.
“I was so nervous before the race. I’m so happy and so relieved because I have been training for this for so long. It’s so amazing. “
Rivard won silver in the 400-m free at last summer’s IPC Swimming World Championships and at the 2012 London Paralympics when she was just 16.
Huot of Longeueil, Que., fought back tears when talking to reporters.
“I feel like it’s a Hollywood script,” said the Longeueil, Que., native who is competing in his fifth Paralympics. “It was one of the toughest races I have ever done.
“Finishing with the 20th medal, probably in my last Paralympic race, I can’t be more happy.”
Maksym Krypak of Ukraine won in a world-record time of 3:57.71.
Huot won the S10 400-free in Athens in 2004, was second in his first Paralympics in 2000 and again four years ago in London, and was third in 2008 in Beijing.
His 20 Paralympic medals, nine of them gold, leaves him tied with Michael Edgson of North Vancouver, B.C.. He who won 17 gold and three silver at the Paralympic Games from 1984 to 1992.
Tim McIsaac of Winnipeg leads all Canadian Para-swimmers with 28 medals.
Huot said he took time to soak in the atmosphere in the noisy Olympic Aquatics Stadium prior to his race.
“Everything worked well tonight,” he said. “I woke up with a lot of energy, had an amazing morning swim.
“I came here trying to do best times. I did two best times out of three races.”
Huot reached the final in his previous two races in Rio. He was fourth in the S10 200-m individual medley and fifth in the 100-m backstroke.
Rivard was almost as thrilled about Huot’s bronze as she was with her gold.
“I’m so happy for him,” she said. “I almost cried before my race.”
The relay team of Katarina Roxon of Kippens, NL, Morgan Bird of Calgary, Tess Routliffe of Caledon, Ont., and Rivard finished in 4:29.40. That broke the old Canadian record of 4:35.05 set last year.
Australia won in a world record time of 4:16.65.
Canada has seven medals _ four gold, two silver, one bronze _ in the pool at Rio.
Rivard has collected two gold and a silver.
She won the S10 50-metre freestyle _ and set a world -record _ then won the 100-metre freestyle, setting a Paralympic Games record. She took silver on the 200-metre individual medley, setting a Canadian record.
Roxon won the S8 100-metre breaststroke Wednesday night while Routliffe won silver and set a Canadian record in the S7 200-m individual medley.
In other results Thursday morning:
_ Roxon, still fatigued from the busy night before, finished 16th in the S9 100-m butterfly in 1:16.93
_ Nydia Langill of Mississauga, Ont., was 12th in the S6 100-m breaststroke in 1:55.13.
_ Isaac Bouckley of Port Hope, Ont., was 10th in the S10 400-m freestyle in 4:20.21 while Alec Elliot of Kitchener, Ont., was 11th in 4:22.51.