TORONTO—Benoit Huot wore a look of visible frustration as he got out of the pool on Thursday night at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre.
While the para-swimmer, who competes in the S10 classification, did finish with a silver medal in the 200-metre men’s individual medley, he was not satisfied with his time of 2:14.07.
He could not explain why he was not able to perform at his usual pace —between 2:10-2:12— during this Canadian Para-swim trials final when he met with the media right after the race.
“It’s been tough with that race in the past two years,” he said. “Obviously in London I did well (2012 Paralympics gold), 2013 I did well, 2014 I did pretty good, but last year and this year seems to be a challenge and I don’t know what I do differently either.”
After receiving his runner-up medallion, the nine-time Paralympics gold-medalist spent some time discussing the individual medley with his coach Mike Thompson.
“He identified some things that he wants to do better in training going forward, and some new things he wants to try, and I think they are good things,” said Thompson.
Twelve hours after the swim, the four-time Paralympian provided insight into how he plans to boost his performance.
“The fly and the breaststroke are not my strengths”, said Huot. “They are my weak strokes. I have to spend time on those strokes, especially the breaststroke, which I didn’t in the past week because I started (this week) with the 400 (metre-freestyle) so I prioritized the 400.
“That is why I felt completely off yesterday in the breaststroke lane”
Despite the tough swim, he is considered a lock to make the Team Canada roster that will be announced on Sunday.
Huot, 32, is confident that having the 200 be his first event in Rio will be beneficial, because he finds that prioritizing the first race of any competition has been a successful strategy.
Thompson is convinced Huot is capable of greatness in the individual medley at Rio.
“I still think that he is a top dog and a guy that is a top contender for a medal.”
Saturday night’s 100-metre backstroke final is Huot’s final competition of the trials. He won gold in the 400 with a time of 4:09.89 on Tuesday night.