Katarina Roxon Makes Canadian Swimming History By Qualifying For Fifth Paralympic Team

Courtesy: Swimming Canada

TORONTO – Katarina Roxon made history Tuesday at the Olympic & Paralympic Trials, Presented by Bell, while five other swimmers put themselves in position to make their Olympic debuts.

Roxon, a 2016 Paralympic champion from Kippens, N.L., swam an “A” qualifying time in the women’s 100-m breaststroke SB8. That qualifies her to be nominated to her record fifth Paralympic Team, most ever among Canadian female swimmers (subject to slot allocations of 15 women and seven men).

The seven-day competition runs through Sunday at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre, with the Canadian teams for Paris 2024 set to be announced officially at the end of the final evening.

The 31-year-old veteran, who made her Paralympic debut at 15 in 2008, cleared the qualifying time of 1:26.66 by almost a full second, finishing second in the multiclass final in 1:25.71.

“Honestly, it’s really exciting. I’ve had a very up-and-down last little bit since before Tokyo, so it’s really good to finally get to say I’m nominated to the team for Paris,” said Roxon, the 2023 world championships bronze medallist who represents the Aqua Aces Swim Club, but has been training with the Club de Natation Région de Québec in the lead-up to Trials.

“It’s been great. It’s been a lot of fun, and through all the down moments, having this amazing high moment make it all worth it.”

Tess Routliffe of Caledon, Ont., who swims for the High Performance Centre – Quebec, won in a Canadian SB7 record 1:30.47, while Nicholas Bennett of Parksville, B.C., who represents Red Deer Catalina Swim Club, won the men’s 100 breast in a Canadian SB14 record 1:03.71.

Both were also “A” qualifying times.

Meanwhile, on the Olympic side, five swimmers qualified under Priority 1 to be nominated for Paris, including Summer McIntosh of Toronto and Mary-Sophie Harvey of Trois-Rivières, Que./CAMO, in the women’s 200 freestyle, Blake Tierney of Saskatoon/HPC-Vancouver and Javier Acevedo of HPC-Ontario in the men’s 100 backstroke, as well as Tristan Jankovics of Guelph, Ont., in the men’s 400 individual medley.

Tokyo Olympians McIntosh and Harvey had posted qualifying times on Day 1, while the others signed the Air Canada boarding pass as first-time qualifiers at the Trials. Acevedo is a two-time Olympian, while Tierney and Jankovics would be Olympic rookies.

“I’ve been working pretty hard for it, and it almost doesn’t feel real. I’ve kind of had it idolized, and now that it’s kind of happening, it’s just surreal,” said Tierney, who won the 100 back in a personal best 53.48. “I’ve been working on it a lot, like breathing, visualization. My heartbeat was probably 200 for the whole time in between prelims and finals, so it was hard to get some rest. Breathing and visualization I think got me through it, and it worked out in the end, so I’m pretty happy.”

Also, Julie Brousseau of Ottawa and Emma O’Croinin of Edmonton, as Top 4 swimmers in the women’s 200 free, and Toronto’s Sophie Angus, as the top swimmer in the women’s 100 breast, qualified to be considered for nomination as relay-only swimmers. All three would be making their Olympic debuts in the French capital.

“There’s always quite a bit of stress. That’s my main race and one shot of the week, so I definitely felt the pressure, but I’ve swam in those high pressure situations before and done well, so I just tried to use that experience and try to stay as calm as possible,” said Angus, a two-time world relay medallist whose time of 1:06.96 just missed the individual qualifying time of 1:06.79. “It honestly wasn’t the time I was hoping for so I’ve just got to get back to work and find ways to improve off of that race going into the summer.”

O’Croinin, a 2019 world relay medallist who missed the Tokyo 2020 Olympic team, was seventh at the final turn of the 200 free, but charged back to finish fourth and grab the final relay consideration spot.

“I’m so excited and I’m so happy with that swim and so relieved and excited to swim with the girls this summer and see what we can do. I just knew I was going to have to try my hardest. There’s a really good field of girls and I’ve raced all of them for years and they’re all incredible swimmers. I knew it was going to take a big swim down to the last metre and I’m happy with how it turned out,” said O’Croinin, who turns 21 next week. “The support from my family and friends has been incredible and I really could not be here without them. I’m so thankful that they’re here. To get to enjoy this moment with them is amazing.”

Up to 12 relay-only positions will be filled based on the combined times of the Top 4 in each potential relay event. While Swimming Canada has qualified all seven Olympic relays, relay-only swimmers will be nominated in priority order based on this ranking.

A total of 857 athletes from 151 clubs across the country are competing to represent Canada at the Olympic Games (July 26-Aug. 11) and Paralympic Games (Aug. 28-Sept. 8) in Paris. Teams for the Junior Pan Pacific Championships (Aug. 21-24) in Canberra, Australia, and Open Water Junior World Championships (Sept. 6-8) in Alghero, Italy, are also being selected.

Preliminary heats are at 9:30 a.m. ET each day, with finals sessions set for 6 p.m.

All sessions are being streamed live by CBC Sports, with a nightly highlight show on CBC TV. Live streams can be watched on the free CBC Gem streaming service, cbcsports.ca and the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android devices. All sessions will be also streamed on TOU.TV and Radio-Canada Sports platforms, with highlight shows broadcast Saturday and Sunday from 3-5 p.m. on ICI Télé. Highlights from the Trials will also be featured on CBC Sports’ weekend programming block on Saturday starting at 4 p.m. ET and Sunday at 3 p.m. on CBC TV and CBC Gem.

RESULTS: https://results.swimming.ca/2024_Olympic_Paralympic_Trials/

QUALIFIED FOR NOMINATION (Priority 1): PARIS 2024 OLYMPIC GAMES (after Day 2 of Trials)

Name Hometown Club Event(s)
Summer McIntosh Toronto, Ont. Sarasota Sharks W 200 & 400 Free
Maggie Mac Neil London, Ont. London Aquatic Club W 100 Fly
Mary-Sophie Harvey Trois-Rivières, Que. CAMO W 100 Fly & 200 Free
Tristan Jankovics Guelph, Ont. Royal City Aquatics M 400 Free
Blake Tierney Saskatoon, Sask. HPC-Vancouver M 100 Back
Javier Acevedo Toronto, Ont. HPC-Ontario M 100 Back

QUALIFIED FOR NOMINATION (“A” qualifying time): PARIS 2024 PARALYMPIC GAMES (after Day 2 of Trials)

Name Hometown Club Event(s)
Danielle Dorris Moncton, N.B. CNBO W 50 Fly S7
Tess Routliffe Caledon, Ont. HPC-Quebec W 50 Fly S7 & 100 Breast SB7
Katie Cosgriffe Burlington, Ont. Oakville Aquatic Club W 100 Fly S10
Nicholas Bennett Parksville, B.C. Red Deer Catalina SC M 100 Breast SB14
Katarina Roxon Kippens, N.L. Aqua Aces Swim Club W 100 Breast SB9

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