UPDATE: Elliott qualified for the Paralympics at the trials in April and will represent Canada in Rio this September.
TORONTO – Alexander Elliot finished first in the men’s 100-metre butterfly final Friday night, during the Canadian Paralympic trials being held at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre in Scarborough.
In the preliminary round, Elliot swam 57.95 seconds, which is only about two-hundredths of a second slower than the Canadian para record for S10 swimmers — athletes that have lost a hand, both feet or a significantly limited function of one hip joint.
Rio would be the 19-year-old’s first Games, something that has been on his mind for quite awhile.
“It would definitely be awesome, I’ve been looking forward to it for about four years now, so it would be very cool to make the team,” said Elliot, while standing poolside shortly after winning. “I went to Parapan Ams last year and that was really exciting. Definitely a whole new experience with the village,
“I can only imagine Rio will be even bigger.”
Winning does not guarantee that the Kitchener, Ont., native will race in Rio as nominations for the Paralympic team will not be announced until Sunday, but he did increase his odds by swimming well under the S10 minimum qualifying standard (MQS) of 1:00.47 for the event.
Regardless of the decision, Elliot’s coach, Hans Witolla, is proud of the challenges his pupil has overcome. Just a few months ago, the Wilfred Laurier University swimmer was unable to practise because of injury.
“Back in January he was in the weight room and he (hurt) his shoulder, so he was out of the water for almost a month,” said Witolla, at from the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre. “He has really just got back to training in the last few weeks.”
“He’s a gamer, he knows how to race and he executes his races beautifully.”
Elliot will have two more opportunities during the trials to qualify for the 2016 Paralympics: he will swim in the 100-metre backstroke on Saturday night and then again in the 100-metre freestyle on Sunday.
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