LONDON — Canada’s Aurelie Rivard claimed her second para-swim gold medal of the week, on Thursday night at the London 2019 World Para Swimming Championships.
The native of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., completed the S10 100-metre freestyle with a time of 59.83 to capture the gold medal less than 24-hours after being stretchered off of the pool deck.
She just missed her own world record by 0.66 seconds. That was set at the 2015 Parapan American Games in Toronto.
Rivard felt “good,” despite her undisclosed medical issue, and proved to any doubters that she was ready to return to the competition.
“I’m so relieved,” said Rivard, in the mixed zone following the event. “My only priority was to win and it’s my first gold medal in the (Worlds) 100 metre, so I’m very happy to have earned a new title tonight.”
However, the world champion isn’t prepared to stop there.
Going into the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games, Rivard can’t wait to look back and go over the race with her coaches as she takes aim at her record once again.
“Technically, after 10 years, it becomes more and more specific, and it’s more about details more than anything else,” said Rivard. “I’m just going to focus on what I can improve in order to stay ahead and stay on top.”
Mike Thompson, head coach of the Para-swimming high performance training centre – Quebec, is proud of what Rivard has been able to accomplish under his direction. Especially here at these World Championships.
“The first thing she said this morning was, ‘I’m going to swim today, and I’m going to win today,'” said Thompson in a one-on-one after the race.
Her resiliency is what makes her coach proud, as she’s willing to put herself in situations not many others would. It was Rivard’s own choice to return to the competition following medical clearance.
“It would have been very easy to pull out and be embarrassed,” said Thompson. “She handled it like a pro.”
Needless to say, Rivard, who was Canada’s flag-bearer at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games closing ceremony, leads by example.
“She doesn’t like to lose, she’s very competitive and very driven,” said Thompson. “Not many people are willing to push themselves like she does in order to be the best.”
The peak of her dominance remains to be seen.
“I’m going to focus on what I can approve in order to stay ahead and stay on top,” said Rivard. “I can break my world record and I can do better.”