Katarina Roxon of Canada prepares for the start of the women's 200m individual medley SM9 final in Rio Sept. 11. Photo: Simon Bruty for OIS.

Roxon posts career best time, advances to medal race

Newfoundland native comes from behind in dominating preliminary performance

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – After a tough start to the Games, three-time Paralympian Katarina Roxon is finally hitting her stride, and she could not be happier.

As Roxon turned to swim the home stretch in the S8 women’s 100m breaststroke, she was chasing the leader – Great Britain’s Claire Cashmore – by several lengths. In the span of a few moments, the Canadian was in the lead, surging to beat Cashmore by more than four seconds.

Her result was a personal best, and an Americas record, according to Swimming Canada. She congratulated the Brit on her time, but the happiness at her results shone through like a beacon of light.

“Tonight will be a lot more tense, but that felt so good,” said the Newfoundland native. “I felt smooth, I felt strong, for me that was a great swim.

“Best time, I’m happy with that, so I’m hoping it’ll be good tonight.”

Her time of 1:21.27 gives her the fastest qualifying time of both heats, and puts her as a favourite to medal. The race will be a momentous occasion, and while Roxon is hoping for an even better swim later, she knows she can’t let the pressure get to her.

“I’m just going to have fun with it,” she said. “The more fun I have, the more relaxed I am, so I’m hoping I can get a lot better.”

Roxon was taught to swim by her father, Leonard, who is still her instructor, and the two head up the Aqua Aces Swim Club in Kippins, Newfoundland. While the elder Roxon could not make it to the Games, Katarina is excited to get his feedback.

“I’m going to call my parents, have a little Skype chat,” Roxon said. “I’ll ask them what they thought of it, what I can improve on, see where I can gain some more speed.

“I’m just going to take it easy right now, and enjoy the rest of the day until my race tonight.”

Twitter: @SNSAlli