Craig McCord speaks at the Medal Recognition Event in the Athletes Village at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. (Photo by Matthew Murnaghan/Canadian Paralympic Committee)

Paralympic swim team coach hopes team can follow in wake of Olympic success

Craig McCord believes that achievements of Penny Oleksiak and others can help his Paralympic swimmers in Rio

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – Canada’s Olympic swim team found the ingredients for success in Rio and the country’s Paralympic swim team coach intends to follow a similar recipe.

Canada won six medals in the pool, including a gold, silver and two bronze by breakout star Penny Oleksiak.

“One of the things we talked to the athletes about was having a will to surrender to the fact that anything is possible,” coach Craig McCord said. “And I think that’s one thing that the Olympic team did very, very well, and Penny accepted, thinking ‘I can do this’.”

This is a strategy that McCord and his coaching staff have been preaching for some time.

“We’ve really worked with our guys about the concept that anything is possible, the future’s not written, the past does not matter,” said the 54-year old in an interview at Rio’s Welcome Centre in the Paralympic Village. “That’s where we have to go with this, as we prepare to get started in two days, stand up and give this a go.”

While the task at hand is important to McCord, he is looking to make a bigger impact, and power the future of Canadians in the Paralympics for years to come.

“Our biggest challenge is that we need Canada to really become aware of parasport. It’s not just about swimming, from a Paralympic movement standpoint, we need more bodies in every sport,” said McCord.

“That’s what I see as our benefit from this. So, if we have a great meet, it’s going to inspire people to get involved in parasport.”