Abi Tripp shows her determination during the 2015 Parapan Am Games in Toronto,, Ontario.

Canada’s Paralympic ‘Young Guns’ on full display

Abi Tripp and James Leroux impress on day 1 in the pool in Rio

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – Abi Tripp was among Canada’s Paralympic ‘Young Guns’ on display at the Aquatic Stadium on Thursday morning.

The 15-year old Kingston, Ont.-native surprised many by joining two other Canadians in finals with a chance to get on to the podium Thursday night.

Head coach Craig McCord was very impressed with her performance (along with fellow 15-year old Sabrina Duchesne, who finished ninth and did not qualify) in the Women’s S8 400-metre Freestyle.

“They both swam amazingly well at the Parapan Am Games last year, and have been able to carry that momentum forward,” said the 54-year old following Canada’s heats. “That’s the big thing.

“We’re glad they did that and were able to get up and go this morning. They’ll just continue to get better as the meet goes on. Today was a great day for the two 15-year olds.”

Canada’s success didn’t stop at Tripp, as both Gordie Michie, 22, and James Leroux, 18, will have a shot at a medal on Thursday evening as well.

Michie, who finished first in the Men’s S14 100-metre backstroke at last summer’s Parapan Am Games, had a strong swim, finishing seventh with a time of 1:05.21. The St. Thomas, Ont.-native will compete for a medal Thursday night.

Meanwhile, Leroux, of Repentigny, Que., had one of the strongest showings of his career. The former Parapan Am gold medalist finished eighth in he Men’s SB9 100-metre breaststroke, with a time of 1:10.05 to make the evening swim.

McCord sees his team’s first morning at the Games as a huge success, and a sign of many more good things to come.

“For our first morning, it was a great morning,” said the coach. “Big swim for James Leroux. Everyone who swam today swam very, very well.”

In other results:

  • Isaac Bouckley missed out on the final by mere seconds, finishing in ninth place
  • Morgan Bird narrowly missed the final, finishing 10th in the S8 400m free
  • Alec Elliot also failed to make it to the evening, finishing 10th in the Men’s SB9 100m breaststroke
  • In the Women’s S7 100m backstroke, both Tess Routliffe and Sarah Mahein failed to advance, finishing 10th and 11th respectively
  • Daniel Murphy failed to make it out of the morning heats, finishing 13th in the Men’s S5 200m free
  • In the Men’s S13 100m butterfly, Tyler Mrak finished 20th