Canada's Guy-Turbide comes from behind to grab gold at Para swimming championships

·4 min read
Canada's Nicolas Guy-Turbide, seen above during the Tokyo Paralympics, won gold in the S13 100-metre backstroke at the Para swimming world championships on Wednesday. (Emilio Morenatti/The Associated Press - image credit)
Canada's Nicolas Guy-Turbide, seen above during the Tokyo Paralympics, won gold in the S13 100-metre backstroke at the Para swimming world championships on Wednesday. (Emilio Morenatti/The Associated Press - image credit)

Nicolas Guy-Turbide is Canada's latest Para swimming world champion. And Danielle Dorris added some hardware of her own.

The 25-year-old Guy-Turbide, of Quebec City, captured gold in the men's S13 100-metre backstroke final on Wednesday in Madeira, Portugal.

It took a strong back 50m for the Canadian who took silver at both the 2019 worlds and 2021 Paralympics in the event for the visually impaired, to finally climb to the top of the podium.

"Surreal," Guy-Turbide said in an interview posted to the Canadian Paralympic Committee's Twitter account. "I came here to race, to give my best as always, and I knew today the one thing that would get me on top was experience so I relied on that heavily."

"It was probably the toughest race of my life physically. I've had lower back problems since the 2019 Worlds," Guy-Turbide would add later. "I think that once again today, it was my experience that paid off. ... To be honest though, I think I have a limited number of races like this left in my body."

Swimming just one lane over from Guy-Turbide, Dutch swimmer Thomas Van Wanrooij built a steady lead of more than half a second at the turn. But Guy-Turbide accelerated just as Van Wanrooij slowed down, and the Canadian touched first with a time of one minute 0.17 seconds.

WATCH | Guy-Turbide speeds to gold medal:

Van Wanrooij held on for silver in 1:00.55, while Ukraine's Oleksii Virchenko took bronze in 1:00.95.

"As a visually impaired swimmer, my race is against myself but at the same time you're aware of what's going on around you in the pool and I just knew I had to push a bit harder than anybody else if I really wanted to get on top of the podium," Guy-Turbide said.

Guy-Turbide's victory marks the fourth gold medal for Canada in Portugal, and the first won by a male swimmer. Shelby Newkirk, Aurélie Rivard and Tess Routliffe previously earned victories.

Dorris, meanwhile, snagged silver in the women's S7 100m backstroke for her first career medal at worlds.

The Moncton, N.B., native earned the same colour medal in the event at her Paralympic debut in Tokyo, where she also broke out with gold in the 50m butterfly and narrowly missed the podium in the 200m individual medley.

Dorris, 19, picked up another silver Wednesday as she touched in a time of 1:23, nearly two full seconds behind gold medallist Julia Gaffney of the U.S who posted a time of 1:21.03.

WATCH | Dorris scores silver:

American McKenzie Coan rounded out the podium at 1:24.42, barely edging out fourth-place Canadian Camille Bérubé (1:24.49).

"It was amazing. I had a lot of fun," said Dorris, who moved to Montreal last fall to train under coach Mike Thompson at the High Performance Centre-Quebec. "I couldn't really see where Julia was the entire time, up until 15 metres left when she caught up to me. Which I'm totally OK with. I'm ecstatic that I got silver again. It's all that I could really ask for." Berube, who was fifth in the 100 back in Tokyo, claimed her first-ever Worlds medal on Sunday when she placed third in the 200 individual medley SM7. For Thompson, senior coach of the Canadian contingent in Madeira, the theme of the day was "gutsy swim."

"Gutsy swims, not being afraid. Young folks again like Felix [Cowan], who stepped up against the big boys, and Clemence, who had an amazing swim to take her Canadian record back in her first international meet besides Parapan Ams. Kat Roxon, third fastest time she's ever done. And the relay was the same way. They were not afraid. Everyone was full of courage today and went after it. I loved it," said Thompson.

Also Wednesday, Canada's Clémence Paré broke a national record in the women's SM5 200m individual medley, placing fifth with a time of 4:45.69. Fellow Canadian Jessica Tinney was just behind in sixth with a personal-best at 4:46.87.

The letter/number modifiers in the event name indicate classification.

Swimmers are organized into different categories depending on the severity of their disability.

Classification can also be broken down by discipline: S indicates freestyle, butterfly and backstroke; SB is breaststroke; and SM represents individual medley.

Live action on and CBC Gem from the Penteada Olympic Pools Complex continues Thursday and each day this week at 12:05 p.m. ET through Saturday.

More than 600 athletes from over 70 nations are competing, with 31 swimmers representing Canada.

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