Move to Quebec City reenergizes Katarina Roxon for Paralympic Games year

Canadian Paralympic Committee

May 16, 2024

Veteran continues her journey in sport

Canadian Para swimmer Katarina Roxon with a joyful expression emerges from the water in an indoor swimming pool, appearing tired but satisfied after a race. | La nageuse canadienne Katarina Roxon, à l'expression joyeuse, sort de l'eau dans une piscine couverte. Elle semble fatiguée mais satisfaite après une course.

TORONTO – For the first time in her 18-year national team career, Katarina Roxon left the confines of her club in Newfoundland and Labrador to train in Quebec City at Université Laval.

In the provincial capital she connected with her longtime national teammates Aurélie Rivard, Sabrina Duchesne, Abi Tripp, Nicolas-Guy Turbide, and Alec Elliott.

It was what the doctor ordered for the 31-year-old Roxon, who beat the “A” standard in the women’s SB8 breaststroke on Tuesday at the Paralympic swimming trials to meet the requirements to be nominated to her fifth Games.

That would be a record for a Canadian female Para swimmer.

‘’The last three years since Tokyo had been inconsistent for me,’’ said Roxon, on her off day at the trials on Wednesday. ‘’It’s been a bit more of a struggle for me physically and mentally.

‘’Moving to another environment gave me a fresh start. I’ve really appreciated the input from the coaches (Emmanuel Vergé and Marc-André Pelletier). And to be around some of my best friends on the team was really motivating.’’

Both Rivard and Duchesne were thrilled to welcome Roxon to the fold. In fact, Roxon resides with Rivard in the guest room in her apartment.

‘’I’ve known Katarina since 2009 and we are the two oldest on the team,’’ said Rivard, 27, a 10-time Paralympic Games medallist. ‘’It’s nice to share this journey with someone who has the same goals and see somebody who has made the sacrifices and made the hard decisions to pursue her dreams.’’

Duchesne, like Rivard and Roxon, has also met the standard to go to Paris.

‘’It was a pleasant surprise to have Katarina join us and we really motivate each other in training,’’ said Duchesne, 23. ‘’I think in the last two months both of us have made giant strides in our training.’’

Roxon, whose main coach is her father Leonard Roxon,  admits that over the past couple of years, she has considered retiring from sport, but support from her family in particular, provided the freedom to make her own choices.

‘’Every athlete gets those retirement thoughts, but I knew I wasn’t ready,’’ said Roxon, a gold medallist in the 100m breaststroke at the 2016 Paralympic Games. ‘’My family keeps me grounded and they are brutally honest. I know no matter what I do they will always love me.’’

With Paralympic and world championships medals as well as being a multi-Games athlete, what keeps Roxon motivated?

“I feel I’m on this journey and I’m not done,” she said. 

‘’I’m just glad I stuck with it.’’ 

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