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After a 12-day training camp in Italy, Canada’s 24-member Para swimming team landed in London and moved into the Paralympic Athlete Village on Wednesday for the 2012 Paralympic Games August 29 to September 9.
“It’s hard to contain the excitement that we are here in London,” said Summer Mortimer of Hamilton, a four –time world champion competing at her first Games. “The atmosphere is absolutely incredible and we are still six days from the start of the Games.”
The Canadian Para swimming team spent the past two weeks at the Getur Sports School in Lignanoso Sabbidaro located near Venice which features a 50-metre Olympic pool.
“We had a great training camp and everyone is looking really good,” said Canada’s head coach Craig McCord of Vancouver. “We had quality preparation but the kids are now ready to move on and we are happy to be here.”
In Beijing, Canadian Para swimmers won seven gold, seven silver and nine bronze. Valérie Grand’Maison of Montreal led the charge with three gold two silver and a bronze. Benoit Huot of Montreal, an eight-time Paralympic champion, added four bronze and visually impaired swimmer Donovan Tildesley of Vancouver added a bronze as well.
All three are back with Huot and Tildesley entered for a fourth straight Games. Others to watch include young veterans Amber Thomas of Drayton Valley, Alta., and Katarina Roxon of Stephenville, N.L., who were 14 and 15-years-old respectively on the 2008 team.
“It’s exciting to be here in the village, see the flags and athletes from around the world,” said Roxon.
“I’ve got more events this time so I’m really stoked,” added Thomas. “Along with more competition come higher expectations for these Games. It’s really an exciting feeling right now.”
The Opening Ceremonies are on August 29th and the swimming competition starts a 10-day run on August 30.
Canadian Para swimming team for the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, August 29 – September 9:
Team Roster: (Name; Residence/Hometown; Coach)
Camille BERUBE (Gatineau, QC; Michel Bérubé)
Morgan BIRD (Calgary, AB; Kristina Crook)
Valerie DRAPEAU (Longueuil, QC; Claude Picard)
Valerie GRAND'MAISON (Montreal, QC; Peter Carpenter)
Brianna JENNETT-MCNEILL (Gatineau, QC/Russell, ON; Michel Bérubé)
Kirstie KASKO (Okotos, AB/High River, AB; Todd Melton)
Sarah MAILHOT (Quebec City, QC; Mark-Andre Pelletier)
Sarah MEHAIN (Vernon, BC; Renate Terpstra)
Summer MORTIMER (Ancaster, ON; Reg Chappell)
Jana MURPHY (Victoria, BC; Gord Veldman)
Brianna NELSON (Victoria, BC; Gord Veldman)
Aurélie RIVARD (St-Jean-sur-Richelieu; France Latendresse)
Katarina ROXON (Stephenville, NL; Leonard Roxon)
Rhea SCHMIDT (Winnipeg, MB; Vlastimil Cerny)
Amber THOMAS (Drayton Valley, AB; Chris Nelson)
Isaac BOUCKLEY (Port Hope, ON/Oshawa, ON; Rob Masson)
Devin GOTELL (Gatineau, QC/Antigonish, NS; Michel Bérubé)
Michael HEATH (Woodstock, ON/Ingersoll, ON; Joni Maertens-Sanders)
Brian HILL (Montreal, QC/Duncan, BC; Sébastien Messier)
Benoit HUOT (Longueuil, QC; Pierre Lamy)
Zachary MCALLISTER (Lethbridge, AB; Brad Mori)
David Scott PATTERSON (Vancouver, BC; Marianne Wieland de Alvarez)
Nathan STEIN (Maple Ridge, BC; Reg Shaw)
Donovan TILDESLEY (Vancouver, BC; Kevin Johns)
Head coach: Craig McCord, Vancouver
Coaches: Peter Carpenter Pointe-Claire, Que.; Reg Chappel, Newmarket, Ont.; Pierre Lamy, St-Sauveur, Que.; France Latendresse, St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que.; Seb Messier, St-Lambert, Que; Reg Shaw, Mission, B.C.
Massage therapist: Vikki Crane-Small, Schomberg, Ont.
Athlete support: Janet Dunn, Victoria; Leanne Wlock, Edmonton
Physiologist: Shane Esau, Airdrie Alta.
Video analysis: Ken Olson, Calgary
Team manager: Marj Walton, Regina
Click here for the full Canadian team list.