Morgan Bird swims in the Women's 4x100m Medley at the London 2012 Paralympic Games in the Aquatics Centre.  (Photo by Matthew Murnaghan/Canadian Paralympic Committee)

Morgan Bird and the women’s relay team leave Rio flying high

Young swimmers exceeded expectations, breaking the Canadian record in medley relay

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – You wouldn’t know that when Morgan Bird exited the pool into the outstretched arms of her Canadian teammates they hadn’t won a medal.

Bird and her three talented young teammates finished fifth in the women’s 4×100-metre individual medley relay on Friday night, but with a time of 5:01.13 they knew they had smashed a Canadian record.

“The team performed really well and we exceeded our expectations,” Bird said after the race at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium. “We swam a 5:01 beating the Canadian record of 5:07 so it’s awesome for us and I love swimming with my teammates.”

The relay team is close-knit and Bird was happy to be a part of the record-breaking moment with her teammates, Katarina Roxon, Aurelie Rivard and Danielle Dorris.

“We’re all great friends and we cheer each other on and we have a lot of fun together,” the Regina, Sask.-native said. “As a team (before a race) we always just try to have fun and laugh and we find if we get too serious we won’t produce the same results.”

There should be lots of fun and laughter ahead for the squad heading into Tokyo 2020. They are very young and Roxon and Rivard have dominated on an individual level in Rio with gold medals in their respective classifications.

As one of the more veteran Paralympians in her second Games at the ripe old age of 23, Bird anchored Canada and swam the final 100m of the race, a role she’s proud to have.

“It’s amazing to be anchor and I’m very proud to have that spot and finish off for Team Canada – I love it,” Bird said. “(Swimming with Roxon, Rivard and Dorris) gives me such an adrenaline rush and I’m just so happy with the result.”