Aurélie Rivard entered Thursday with intentions of beating herself.
She fell short of her own personal best — but still emerged victorious in the race.
Rivard won the S10 category in the women’s 100m freestyle multi-class, with a time of 59.88 seconds, at the 2019 Canadian Swimming Trials inside the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre (TPASC).
On a scale from S1 to S10, the degree of disability peaks at S1.
The 22-year-old holds the S10 world record time of 59.17 seconds, set at the 2015 Parapan American Games in Toronto.
“I’m always happy to get under a minute,” said Rivard, in the media zone after her race. “It doesn’t happen that often, so that was a good swim.”
It was a dominant performance. The native of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, cleared the next best time in her category by 7.12 seconds, set by 15-year-old Arianna Hunsicker.
Rivard, already with three golds and one silver medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, has her eyes set on being the world’s very best in her classification.
“I’ve been trying since the day I broke it. It’s actually harder than I thought. But that’s my main focus, especially going into this summer,” said Rivard.
The future of competition is bright, as fellow S10 competitor, Hunsicker, finished in fourth place overall with a 1:07.00 time.
Katarina Roxon, an S9 competitor, came second in multi-class with a time of 1:08.61 and beat her preliminary time of 1:10.37.
Rivard is becoming more confident in her abilities and hopes to pass on the lessons she’s learned along the way. It’s been a path of personal growth and acceptance.
“I’ve been struggling with (confidence) forever. If I understood the meaning of trusting myself earlier, I would’ve saved so much negativity in my life. Just believe in yourself and trust yourself,” Rivard said.
At 22-years-old, she is beginning to grasp what it means to be a professional swimmer.
“I think it’s important, in that specific area, to be selfish and to think about what’s good for you—not for others, not pleasing other people,” Rivard explained, referring to past experiences of being doubted.
After a successful race in the 100m freestyle, Rivard will also compete in the 50m and 400m freestyle multi-class swimming events in the coming days.