Canadian Paralympic swimmer Isaac Bouckley poses in a Swim Canada photo shoot.

Swimmer Isaac Bouckley stakes claim for Rio Paralympics

Still building off 4 silver medals at 2015 Parapan Am Games

UPDATE: Bouckley qualified for the Paralympic Games at the trials in April and will represent Canada in September.

TORONTO — Isaac Bouckley continued his strong week at the 2016 Paralympic Swimming Trials with a fourth-place finish in the men’s 200-metre medley at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre in Scarborough on Thursday night.

The 21-year-old Oshawa native, now living and training in Montreal, posted a time of 2:18.84 in the finals, shaving 1.76 seconds off his preliminary race from the morning.

“I’ve swam well in every event so far and had a busy first few days,” said Bouckley, in the media zone. “I was feeling a bit tired this morning and used the day to rest, then took it a little bit lighter in the morning. I think that’s what helped me tonight. I changed my strategy a bit, too.”

Bouckley started very strong in the medley finals, tying eventual gold medalist Gordie Michie for the second-fastest 50-metre sat 28.87-seconds. This trailed only Benoit Huot of Quebec, the world-record holder in the event for S10-classification athletes.

Canadian Paralympic swimmer Isaac Bouckley poses in a Swim Canada photo shoot.
Bouckley took home four silver medals at the 2015 Toronto Parapan Am Games (swimming.ca)

Huot and Bouckley both race as S10 swimmers,  a classification that applies to athletes who have lost a hand or foot, or have limited hip movement.

The two also raced in neighbouring lanes Thursday night, something that the younger swimmer admits pushed him throughout the race.

“I think that being close to him, I felt like I was swimming really fast,” Bouckley said. “Thinking you were going fast only helps you go faster.”

Earlier in the week he placed second in the 400-metre freestyle, fourth in the 100-metre breaststroke, and fifth in the 50-metre freestyle.

Bouckley has the 100-metre freestyle remaining this Sunday, the same day that Paralympic swim qualifiers will be officially announced.

“I’m really done my main chunk of events,” Bouckley said, “and I’ve done all my good events. The 100-metre freestyle is really just a bonus.

“So I’m resting, hoping for the best with the team.”

As he awaits Sunday’s announcements, Bouckley says he plans to continue focusing on his strength and endurance training leading up to the Rio Games, especially in the 400-metre freestyle where he won a Pan Am silver medal in 2015.

“The 400 is a race I think I can make a final in,” Bouckley said.