RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – Nathan Clement never expected a call to the national para-swim team, but now the swimmer is here he’s walked away with a Canadian record.
The North Vancouver, B.C., native finished fifth in the men’s 50m S6 butterfly final — something he didn’t imagine in his dreams.
“Going from a bubble guy and not thinking I was going to make the team to getting in here and earning the Canadian record, was pretty special,” said Clement, dripping wet in the media zone, moments after his race.
The 21-year-old swimmer was shocked by the level of support from the Brazilian crowd and that spurred him to success.
“The race was so loud, the crowd were obviously really into it and that was so cool for me to hear.”
Clement tried to stay realistic before the Games and he appreciated the chance to even represent his country on the biggest stage in para-sport.
“I was just trying to make sure I gave myself the best opportunity to make the finals,” said Clement. “Everything past that was just gravy.”
Instead of letting nerves affect his performance, Clement entered the pool and looked at the camera with his tongue out and a huge smile on his face.
“I wasn’t feeling any nerves before the race,” said Clement, trying to fight back his smile. “I was just excited to be in the final that was my gold medal.”
Clement said his achievement was in part due to his coaching team and all of his support in Rio and back home.
“It was just a celebration of the last year, I had such incredible coaching back home, along with amazing support,” he said. “I made sure I left it all in the water.”
Clement is a first time Paralympian, he was truly grateful for his family making the trip all the way to Rio.
“My mum and dad are up in the stands right now,” said Clement. “My dad is pretty calm but my mum is probably losing her mind right now.”