LA MIRADA, California (December 9, 2011) Valérie Grand'Maison of Montreal is determined to produce an encore performance to her triple gold medal showing achieved at the 2008 Paralympics next year in London and took a first step towards that goal on Friday.
Grand'Maison posted victories in the women's 50-metre freestyle and 200 individual medley at the Can Am Championships, an annual three-meet series pitting the top U.S., and Canadian para swimmers but now also attracting a strong international field. This weekend, for example, Brazil and Australia have sent their top teams.
''This was my first competition for this season (2011-12) and my expectations weren't that high,'' said Grand'Maison, 23, who competes in the S13 disability class for visually impaired. ''The times were a bit disappointing but this is a good way to launch the year.''
At the Beijing Paralympics, Grand'Maison was one of Canada's biggest stars with three gold, including two in world record time, as well as a silver and a bronze.
''My goal for this year is to get back to the performances I had in 2008,'' she said. ''I've put everything aside to focus on swimming so I can reach those goals. It's very exciting to have that challenge and I plan to fight until the finish.''
Multiple Paralympic champion Benoit Huot of Montreal added a victory in the men's 200 IM in the S10 category clocking a best in training time of 2:17.03. He also finished ahead of reigning Paralympic Games champion Rick Peddleton of Australia, who was second.
''It's exciting to have that kind of performance when I'm in the midst of such a heavy training workload,'' said Huot, a 16-time Paralympic medallist.
Competition ends Saturday.
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