20 Para Swimmers Nominated To 2024 Canadian Paralympic Team

Courtesy: Swimming Canada

Toronto, May 19, 2024 – A team of 20 athletes has been nominated to represent Canada in Para swimming at the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games following the conclusion of the Olympic & Paralympic Swimming Trials in Toronto, the Canadian Paralympic Committee and Swimming Canada announced Sunday. Canada’s Para swimmers are the first athletes to be nominated to the Paris 2024 Canadian Paralympic Team, with 101 days to go until the start of the Games.

Paris 2024 Canadian Paralympic Team – PARA SWIMMING

The team includes six Paralympic medallists, led by Aurélie Rivard with 10 podium finishes. Rivard, who captured five medals at Tokyo 2020 including two gold, is heading to her fourth Paralympic Games.

“It’s a bit surreal to know I’m going to a fourth Paralympics,” said Rivard. “I’ve been at this for 16 years and I still get excited knowing I’ll be going to the Games and it’s a privilege to have been part of the team for this long. I think all the athletes will savour these Games more; we’re going to rediscover all that we missed due to the pandemic at the Tokyo Games and have the full Games experience.”

Rio 2016 gold medallist Katarina Roxon is the longest-serving member of the team, and will be making history in Paris by competing in her fifth Paralympic Games – the most ever of any Canadian female Para swimmer.

“I never dreamed when I first started I would be going to five Paralympic Games,” said Roxon, who also won a relay bronze at Tokyo 2020. “I’ve had times where I wasn’t as consistent as I wanted to be, but when you overcome those challenges to reach your goals it is very satisfying.”

After being Canada’s youngest athlete at the 2016 Paralympic Games, Danielle Dorris was a breakout star in Tokyo. She won gold and silver for her first Paralympic podiums, and at age 18 was the nation’s youngest medallist at those Games.

“Going to my third Games is very exciting,” said Dorris. “I keep saying that these Games will truly feel like my first, because when I was at my first Games, I was 13 so I don’t remember any of it. And then for Tokyo it was COVID so there were no fans but this time my parents will be able to go. There’s going to be lots of people in the stands, so I’m very excited for that.”

After missing the Tokyo 2020 Games due to injury, Tess Routliffe is set to make her return to Paralympic action. She is a silver medallist from Rio.

“It’s pretty amazing for me to be going back to the Paralympic Games,” said Routliffe. “I’m looking forward to Paris after missing Tokyo; it was a tough road to come back from my back injury. I can’t wait. I was never hungrier than to qualify for Paris.”

Other medallists on the roster are Sabrina Duchesne, part of the bronze-medal winning women’s 4x100m freestyle relay team in Tokyo, and Nicolas-Guy Turbide, a 2016 bronze and 2020 silver medallist. Both are headed to their third Paralympic Games.

The team also features Nicholas Bennett, Alec Elliot, Shelby Newkirk, Aly Van Wyck Smart, Nikita Ens, and Abi Tripp, all returning members from the Tokyo 2020 squad.

Eight athletes will be making their Paralympic debuts – Katie Cosgriffe, Sebastian Massabie, Reid Maxwell, Fernando Lu, Emma Grace Van Dyk, Mary Jibb, Philippe Vachon, and Arianna Hunsicker.

“I’m looking forward to representing Canada in Paris,” said Maxwell, who at 16 years and eight months old is the youngest member of the team. “It’s such an honour. Of course the racing will be super fun, the field will be the strongest I’ve ever faced, and it’s going to be a great experience.”

Canada is coming off one of its best ever world championships last summer, winning 19 medals including nine gold – two each by Bennett, Dorris, Rivard, and Routliffe, and one courtesy of Newkirk. The other 2023 worlds medallists were Tripp, Duchesne, Roxon, and Turbide.

“This is a team with an incredible amount of experienced, successful Paralympians who will be joined by a new generation of talented swimmers who will represent Canada with pride this coming summer in Paris,” said Wayne Lomas, Associate Director of High Performance and Para Swimming National Coach, Swimming Canada. “I want to acknowledge Katarina Roxon, who will attend a remarkable fifth Paralympic Games this year and will stand alongside many of her teammates of the past decade, including Aurélie Rivard who will defend her Tokyo Paralympic gold medals while competing at her fourth Games. At the same time, I want to recognize the talent, exuberance, and excitement of our eight athletes who will make their Paralympic Games debut.

“I wish team leader J-P Lavoie and his team of coaches every success for what I know will be an incredible performance from Team Canada in Paris. I thank the Canadian Paralympic Committee and Own The Podium for their support over the past many years which has enabled us to assemble such a team.”

Para swimming races will run August 29 to September 7 at La Défense Arena in Paris. Three years ago at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Canada’s Para swimmers captured eight of the nation’s 21 total medals – three gold, three silver, and two bronze, led by Rivard’s five podiums and Dorris’s two medals.

“A huge congratulations to all 20 swimmers nominated to the Canadian Paralympic Team!” said Karolina Wisniewska, co-chef de mission, Paris 2024 Canadian Paralympic Team. “This is such an impressive team of athletes with a bursting resume of Paralympic Games and world championships success, as well as some exciting athletes set to make their Paralympic debuts. We know they are all ready to make their mark in Paris, and can’t wait to be there to cheer them on at the pool.”

“It is such an exciting moment to welcome our first athletes to the team,” said Josh Vander Vies, co-chef de mission, Paris 2024 Canadian Paralympic Team. “Para swimming is always such a premier sport at the Games, and I am certain there will be so many moments to celebrate for Canada’s Para swimmers in Paris, from podiums to thrilling finishes to personal bests. We wish each of them the best of luck with their final preparations for the Games, and we will be there to support them all the way to Paris.”

The Paris 2024 Paralympic Games will take place August 28 to September 8 in Paris, France. Canada is expecting to send a team of approximately 140 athletes.

Prior to being officially named to the Canadian Paralympic Team, all nominations are subject to approval by the Canadian Paralympic Committee. The approved final roster will be announced closer to the start of the Games.

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CanSwimFan
25 days ago

So I have to ask, as exciting as it was to watch Nicholas Bennett get that world record, his interviews beg the question, what role does his “disability” play in limiting his swimming training or performance?

I got that he’s been diagnosed with autism, which encompasses a massive spectrum. From his calm, collected, well thought-out interview answers in front of hundreds of people live (and cameras in his face), I’m having a hard time being convinced he falls anywhere near the severe end of that spectrum. This week he came across more composed in interviews that at least half of the able-bodied athletes; something the people in my life who deal with autism would never be able to accomplish.… Read more »

Lion Swim
Reply to  CanSwimFan
25 days ago

Had this exact same thought.

Swimmer
Reply to  Lion Swim
25 days ago

S14 can also include struggles with memory or pattern recognition, although I do agree that is feels an easily exploited classification. From a GB perspective, I would assume he is more like Bethany Firth, who was also very good at interviews/ documentaries, in comparison to Olivia Newman Baronius who is extremely camerashy and nervous on TV.

westcoastjane
Reply to  CanSwimFan
25 days ago

as someone who has worked in special ed for a long time, I can see the autistic traits. Some autistic can be almost overly pedantic in some of their speech, but struggle with other pieces. As a former swim parent of a ‘higher functioning’ autistic I’d say that there were a lot of challenges that impacted swimming from age 4 to 19. Very driven and extreme willpower were assets, but there were a lot of things that got in the way and I’ve watched this with other athletes some diagnosed, some not yet (and maybe never) I think S14 is a milder impairment category.

ScovaNotiaSwimmer
25 days ago

It was great to witness the cheers, excitement, and appreciation of some great swims by the crowd and on-deck for the para swimmers. True inclusion adds to the experience. I saw Reid Maxwell be absolutely swarmed by young athletes hanging around the lobby waiting for selfies and autographs.