TORONTO Aurélie Rivard swam a world record breaking time in the S10 100-meter freestyle to win a record sixth gold medal Friday night as Canada’s Para-swimming team wrapped up its most successful Parapan American Games ever.
“It don’t know where that came from,” said a shocked Rivard after seeing her time of 59.17 seconds.
Setting a world record was something Rivard imagined at next year’s Paralympic Games in Rio de Janerio, not in her seventh swim in six days at the Parapan Am Games.
“That was one of my long-term goals . . . but not at Parapans and especially on the last day,” said the 19-year-old from St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., who was born missing her left hand.
“I’m tired, really tired. Physically it’s been a tough summer. I still can’t believe it. I was dying in the last few meters. I was trying to kick but my legs felt so heavy. When I touched the wall it took me a couple of seconds to realize it.”
The six individual gold medals are the most by any Canadian woman in individual events at a single Parapan Am Games.
“I’m just so glad to do it at home,” said Rivard, who also won a silver. “I’m just super excited about it. All the effort I spent is really worth it.”
A loud, flag-waving crowd roared when Rivard touched the wall, breaking the old record of 59.77 seconds set in April by Sophie Pascoe of New Zealand.
Samantha Ryan, of Saskatoon, was sixth in 1:08.43.
Rivard’s win was one of four gold on the final day of swimming. Nicolas Turbide, S11-13 100-meter butterfly: Justine Morrier, S14 200-m individual medley; and Tess Routliffe, S7 women’s 100-meter backstroke, all won races.
Canadian swimmers won 12 medals on the day (four gold, five silver, three bronze) and finished the Games with 91 (24-39-28).
Brazil topped the medal table with 104 (38-29-37).
In one of the night’s most exciting races Turbide, of Quebec City, out battled Brazil’s Carlos Farrenberg to win the 100-m butterfly for the visually impaired in one minute, 2.65 seconds. Tyler Mrak, of Aldergrove, B.C., was sixth in 1:13.24.
Turbide fought back after being second after 50 meters.
“I saw his wave at the turn,” said Turbide, who picked up his sixth medal. “I knew he was in front of me. I told myself he’s not ending in front of me.”
Morrier, of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, out dueled teammate Kirstie Kasko, of Okotoks, Alta., to win her race in 2:44.12. Kasko finished in 2:45.00.
The men’s 4x100-m 34-point medley relay team of Benoit Huot, of Longueuil, Que., James Leroux, of Repentigny, Que., Jean-Michel Lavalliere, of Montreal, and Zach McAllister, of Lethbridge, Alta., was second in 4:30.14.
Earlier Friday Routliffe, of Caledon, Ont., won the women’s 100-m back in a Parapan record 1:31.19 for her fourth gold of the meet. Teammate Sarah Mehain, of Montreal, was second in 1:32.25.
Veteran Adam Purdy added a silver, being clocked in 1:18.96 in the S6 100-m back.
It was Canada’s biggest swimming medal haul at a Parapan Am Games.
As impressive as the final results were, Craig McCord, the national Para-swimming coach, was even happier with how the medals were won.
“Our young athletes really stepped up,” said McCord. “We talked about practising winning. I think you saw that here.”
Among the swimmers that impressed McCord was Routliffe, 16, Lavalliere, 24, who won four individual silver; Turbide, 17, (three gold , three silver); Morgan Bird, 21 (two gold, one silver) and McAllister, 21, (one gold, two silver).
It was a long summer for the Para-swimmers. The Parapan Games came just a couple weeks after the IPC Swimming World Championships, in Glasgow, Scotland. Twenty five of the swimmers competed in both meets.
The goal of the 40-member team in Toronto was to win between 80 and 85 medals and try to beat the powerful Brazilian team for most medals.
“We brought the biggest Para-swimming team we’ve ever had with some clear objectives,” said McCord. “The team regrouped after a solid world championship performance and jelled.
“Once the meet started everyone fed off each other’s success.”
The competition attracted 228 athletes from 19 countries to the Parapan Am Aquatic Centre and Field House. For full results go to http://results.toronto2015.org/PRS/en/swimming/schedule-and-results.htm.
In other results:
_ Katerina Roxon, of Kippen, NL, won bronze in the S9 100-meter freestyle in 1:07.08.
_ Nathan Stein, of Maple Ridge, B.C., won bronze in the S10 100-meter freestyle in 53.16 seconds. Isaac Bouckley, of Montreal, was fourth in 53.81 and Alec Elliott, of Kitchener, Ont., fifth in 56.79.
_ Tammy Cunnington, of Red Deer, Alta., was second in the S1-4 200-m freestyle, slicing 26 seconds off her personal best to finish in 4:14.59.
_ Gordie Michie, of St. Thomas, Ont., was second in the S14 200-m IM in 2:20.00 while Adam Rahier, of Surrey, B.C., was third in 2:25.39.
_ Lavalliere was fifth in the S7 100-m backstroke in 1:24.40 and Nathan Clement, of West Vancouver, B.C., was eighth in 1:33.11.
_ Danial Murphy, of Bedford, N.S, placed fourth in the S1-5 200-m freestyle in 3:01.99. Andrew Cooke, of Penticton, B.C., was eighth in 3:47.48.