Shelby Newkirk Sets S7 100 Back WR at Para Swimming Canadian Open


Day two of the Para Swimming Canadian Open featured the women’s and men’s S1-S13 50 free, SB4-SB9 and SB11-SB14 100 breast, S1-S2 and S6-S14 100 back, and the men’s SB1-SB3 50 breast and 4×100 free.

Note that in para swimming, the objectively fastest swim does not always win the race — times are plugged into a formula that accounts for a given swimmer’s classification, aiming to level the playing field. Swimmers are awarded points based on the calculation.

In the 50 free, Australian Rachael Watson (who swims in the S4 class) took the first win of the day in 39.02. She was followed by Canadian S10 swimmer Aurelie Rivard in 28.03. S10 swimmer Rowan Crothers nabbed his first win of the meet on the men’s side, going 23.94, followed by S7 swimmer Matthew Levy in 28.73.

12-year-old Jasmine Greenwood, who competes in the SB9 class, took first in the 100 breast with a 1:20.15. Close behind was Madeline Scott, also an SB9 swimmer, in 1:20.95. SB7 swimmer Blake Cochrane won the men’s race in 1:18.14, followed by SB9 swimmer James Leroux in 1:09.69.

21-year-old Shelby Newkirk downed the S7 100 back world record in 1:21.43, breaking German Kirsten Bruhn‘s previous mark of 1:21.57, set in 2012. Newkirk only began swimming when she was 15, after she was diagnosed with dystonia, a progressive disorder that affects movement and coordination in a similar way to Parkinson’s.

“Going into it, I knew I was close and I knew what my goal times were,” Newkirk said. “I just went in with full focus on getting it and I just stomped my feet into the wall to get a rhythm and I really tried to push it through the first 50.”

33-year-old Benoit Huot, swimming in the S10 class, won the men’s race in 1:01.06.

The Australian men went 3:52.85 to top the 4×100 free relay unopposed.

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3 years ago

Newkirk’s 100 Back time was only a 1:42.60 at her classification meet back in March this year. Three weeks after that swim she swam a 1:22 at CanAm. Something doesnt seem right here.

Reply to  Taa
3 years ago

Wow!! Move over Lakeisha Patterson you have a rival for the best actress award. Whats her presumed disability?

Reply to  Sarah
3 years ago

Originally diagnosed with ‘Early On-Set’ Generalised Dystonia at 13 which caused her to lose function in her right foot according to reports. GBs Tully Kearney has also been diagnosed with Generalised Dystonia although Kearney reportedly also has a mild form of diplegic CP. However, Generalised Dystonia does not explain a 20s differential between classification swim and a competition swim 3 weeks later and then a subsequent WR 5 months after that. There is another swimmer with Dystonia, type unknown, that is highlighted from time to time, USA Leanne Smith. I am not questioning whether or not these athletes have this progressive condition but any large differences in classification swim and subsequent competition swim should be a matter of concern for… Read more »

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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