OTTAWA – A strong team of 19 Para swimmers will hit the starting blocks for Canada at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) and Swimming Canada announced today.
Aurélie Rivard, Canada’s flag bearer at the Rio 2016 Closing Ceremony, leads the way for the team. The 25-year-old was the star of those Games for Canada, swimming to three gold medals and one silver. Three other members of the Tokyo squad also won medals at the last Paralympic Games: Katarina Roxon (one gold), Tess Routliffe (one silver), and Nicolas-Guy Turbide (one bronze). A total of 12 swimmers are returning from the Rio 2016 team.
“Knowing that I'm on the Paralympic team and representing Canada is even more rewarding after a long year of uncertainty,” said Rivard. “It’s been a lot of hard work to get here, and I can’t wait to get out and compete in Tokyo and see what I can do.”
Seven athletes will be making their Paralympic Games debut, including world championship medallists Shelby Newkirk and Aly Van Wyck-Smart as well as Lima 2019 Parapan Am Games medallists Nicholas Bennett and Angela Marina. Rivard, Morgan Bird, and Camille Bérubé will be competing at their third Paralympic Games, while Roxon has the most Paralympic experience on her resume, as this will be her fourth appearance.
“Regardless of how many times I get nominated to the Canadian Paralympic Team to represent our country, it always feels new and exciting!” said Roxon, who made her debut as a 15-year-old at the 2008 Games.
This roster produced 14 medals (two gold, seven silver, and five bronze) at the largest most recent competition, the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships. Medals were won by Rivard, Turbide, Roxon, Routliffe, James Leroux, Van Wyck-Smart, Newkirk, Alec Elliot, and Abi Tripp.
“It is an honour to qualify for my first Paralympic Games, and I am excited to represent Canada in Tokyo and take this next step in my swimming career,” said Bennett, who was a three-time champion at the Parapan Am Games in 2019 and has been selected for his first Paralympic Games.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the selection of Canada’s swim team involved multiple phases. Eight swimmers were nominated following medal performances at the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships, while seven more athletes were selected last month based on their performance at the 2019 worlds. The final four athletes were nominated following a submission of training logs and data and a video-recorded time trial performance.
Each swimmer on the team achieved either a 2019 World Para Swimming Championships medal or final, or the Canada C Time as outlined in the January 2021 version of the Swimming Canada Swimmer and Coach Nomination Criteria for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
“Every member of our team has achieved so much individually, we have world record holders, Paralympic gold medallists, athletes and coaches with significant Games experience, as well as coaches who have led athletes and teams to success at the highest level,” said Wayne Lomas, associate director of high performance and Para swimming head coach, Swimming Canada. “We also have first-time Paralympians eager to make a name for themselves on the world stage, as well as highly experienced professional practitioners, doctors, PhDs, and successful professionals in many fields. What binds us is that we share the common goal of supporting each other to perform at our best on the day that matters.”
Seven provinces are represented by Canada’s Para swimming team – Ontario (seven), Quebec (five), Alberta (two), Saskatchewan (two), New Brunswick (one), Newfoundland & Labrador (one), and British Columbia (one).
Swimming competition at the Paralympic Games will run from August 25 to September 3.
“Congratulations to the incredible 19 swimmers who have earned their spot to represent Canada in Tokyo,” said Stephanie Dixon, chef de mission, Tokyo 2020 Canadian Paralympic Team. "This has been a year of unique and challenging circumstances, but all of their hard work is shining through, and the Games will be a celebration of their resilience and dedication. This is an exciting group of swimmers with so much potential, and I look forward to cheering on each and every one of them in Tokyo!"
TOKYO 2020 PARALYMPIC GAMES PARA SWIMMING TEAM:
Nicholas Bennett – Parksville, BC
Camille Bérubé – Gatineau, QC
Morgan Bird – Calgary, AB
Matthew Cabraja – Brampton, ON
Tammy Cunnington – Red Deer, AB
Danielle Dorris – Moncton, NB
Sabrina Duchesne – St-Augustin-de-Desmaures, QC
Alec Elliot – Kitchener, ON
Nikita Ens – Meadow Lake, SK
James Leroux – Repentigny, QC
Angela Marina – Cambridge, ON
Shelby Newkirk – Saskatoon, SK
Aurélie Rivard – St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC
Tess Routliffe – Caledon, ON
Katarina Roxon – Kippens, NL
Abi Tripp – Kingston, ON
Nicolas-Guy Turbide – Quebec City, QC
Aly Van Wyck-Smart – Toronto, ON
Zach Zona – Waterford, ON
The postponed Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will take place August 24 to September 5, 2021 in Japan. Canada is expecting to send a team of approximately 130 athletes, and audiences across the country will be able to follow all the action live through coverage from the Canadian Paralympic Media Consortium, including broadcast partners CBC/Radio-Canada, AMI, and Sportsnet, and digital partners Twitter, Facebook, and MXZN.
CLICK HERE to see the complete list of athletes named to the Canadian Paralympic Team. The Canadian Paralympic Committee will announce the official full team heading to the Games later this summer.