Grand'Maison wins Canada's first gold at Paralympic world championships
Canada's Valerie Grand'Maison starts a heat of the Women's 100 meter Backstroke at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games in Beijing Sunday, Sept. 14, 2008. (AP / Greg Baker)
Published Wednesday, August 14, 2013 9:03PM EDT
MONTREAL -- Valerie Grand'Maison of Montreal won Canada's first gold medal at the Paralympic swimming world championships, taking the women's 100-metre butterfly in the visually impaired category.
Grand'Maison won the race in one minute, 06.73 seconds, shaving less than a second off the world record which had stood for 17 years.
"It's so cool to win gold at home," said Grand'Maison, a four-time Paralympic Games champion. "The crowd was amazing."
It was the 24-year-old's second medal of the championships. She collected silver in the 200 individual medley Monday, finishing 0.08 seconds behind American Rebecca Anne Meyers. The sting of not winning that race was still fresh in her mind.
"In the last 25 metres tonight I thought about that 0.08 seconds," said Grand'Maison. "It was all about staying relaxed and focusing on my technique. When I touched the wall I was so happy. This is Canada's first gold but not our last."
Brianna Nelson of Victoria added a bronze in the women's S7 50 metre freestyle. After three days of racing, Canada has one gold, two silver and three bronze.
Nelson lowered the Canadian record twice en route to the bronze. A double Paralympic medallist in 2012, Nelson clocked 34.64 in the morning then 34.18 in the final. Danielle Campo of Windsor, Ont., had held the record for 13 years.
"This is a bit of a surprise for me," said Nelson, who was sixth in the event in London last year. "The freestyle is not the stroke I focus on the most but again it all came down to technique. My coach told to make an adjustment and it worked."
Cortney Jordan of the U.S. won the gold medal in 33.42 seconds and Susannah Rodgers of Britain was second in 33.84. Sarah Mehain, 18, of Vernon, B.C., posted a personal best 35.23 seconds for fifth place