Aurelie Rivard dominates en route to gold at Para Swimming World Championships

Rivard earns Canada's first medal in Britain's capital.

London, UK - September 9, 2019 - Aurelie Rivard waves to the crowd after capturing the gold medal in the 50m Freestyle S10 on day one of the World Para Swimming Championships in London (Pete Borkowski Photo) September 9, 2019 Pete Borkowski Photo 

LONDON — On the biggest stage competing against the best in the world, Aurelie Rivard has found herself with only one rival.


Rivard, who holds the world record in the women’s 50-metre freestyle S10 set at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, struck gold again capturing Canada’s first medal on Day One of the 2019 Para Swimming World Championships, here at the London Aquatic Centre.

“It’s a walk in the park for her [Rivard],” said Benoît Huot, a nine-time Paralympic gold medalist and CBC sports reporter. “I think she realizes now that if she had just a little bit more competition we’d see a different athlete.

“We haven’t seen her best potential, she’s incredible. If she had somebody on her tail tonight it would be a different story at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.”

The 23-year-old was 0.26 seconds slower than her morning qualifying time but that did not prevent her from a dominant final run. Rivard finished 0.36 seconds faster than silver medalist Zara Mullooly of Great Britain.

Rivard shares the same sentiment as her former training partner Huot, but outlines the positive despite heavy expectation.

“I’m way better when I have a rival next to me,” said the St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., native, who won three gold medals and one silver in Rio 2016. “I’m challenging myself, but if I know I’m in an event where I know I’ll dominate — I have a tendency to not push myself.

“I think now it motivates me to work more on this event rather than if I would’ve broken the record.”

Prior to the finals evening session, Rivard was poised to make history across the Atlantic, just missing her world-record mark in the qualifying session.

The 2016 finalist for the Lou Marsh award for Canada’s athlete of the year took motivation from the performance of a sure-lock contender for the honor this year.

Bianca Andreescu captured the 2019 US Open title Saturday, marking the first time a Canadian has won a tennis grand slam.

“I watched the whole match and didn’t go to bed until it was over,” said Rivard. She’s only 19 and the determination she showed was very inspiring. Our team leader mentioned that during a meeting, he wanted us to use that to win.

“I felt so Canadian.”

Rivard will compete in five more events this week, including two team events, the 4x100m freestyle, and medley relay.

Six Canadians will aim to join Rivard on the podium Tuesday including Nicolas Guy-Turbide competing in the men’s 100m backstroke S13 where he won bronze in 2016 at the Paralympic games

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Posted: Sep 9 2019 6:03 pm
Filed under: Parasports Sports Swimming