Saskatoon’s Newkirk wins silver for Canada in world para-swim debut

Backstroker secures spot in Tokyo 2020 after second-place finish

Shelby Newkirk finishes up her 100m backstroke S7 final. In her World Para Swim Championships debut Newkirk earns silver to secure her spot in Tokyo 2020. September 12, 2019 (Pete Borkowski Photo) 

LONDON — Shelby Newkirk will be bringing a lot of lessons home from her first World Para Swimming Championship appearance.

Not to mention a silver medal.

Newkirk added to Canada’s medal count on Thursday, one that now stands at eight after four days of competition at the London Aquatics Centre, with a silver medal in the S7 100-metre backstroke.   

After securing her spot at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, the 23-year-old is eager to improve still on her time of 1:21.58, .

“There are things to learn,” said Newkirk, post-race. “Every opportunity to learn is awesome and I’m excited to see what’s going to happen next year.”

The Saskatoon, Sask. native believes top of the list is continuing to push herself.

“I’m always worried about getting too tired,” said the Canadian record holder. “I think I hold back a little bit, so knowing that it’s ok to push myself is definitely a lesson I’ll take from this experience.”

Shelby Newkirk accepts her silver medal in the 100m backstroke S7 at the Olympic pool, in London (Pete Borkowski Photo)

One of Canada’s most experienced swimmers, Aurélie Rivard, rebounded following a medical scare Wednesday, winning her second gold of the competition in the 100m freestyle S10.

The 23-year-old was unable to watch her teammate earn Canada’s only other medal on Thursday because of preparation for her own race, but described her feeling surrounding Newkirk and the next crop of swimmers.

“I know she really wanted to win a medal and that’s great for Canada,” said Rivard, who will now be racing in two team events to close out her worlds. 

“In the past decade we’ve lost some great swimmers so it’s great to see we have some new ones coming through making us proud.”

The St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., native, went on to highlight the difference between her first world event and what she’s seen from Newkirk so far this week.

“I was way younger than Shelby and I was so intimidated and amazed with everything surrounding me,” said Rivard. “She came in with nothing to lose and impressed. She can enjoy this experience and come back even stronger.”

Action from the London Aquatics Centre resumes Friday for Canada with nine Canadians in seven events including the women’s 4 x 100m medley, led by Rivard.

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Posted: Sep 12 2019 12:26 pm
Filed under: Parasports Sports Swimming