Toronto’s Van Wyck-Smart claims 2nd silver at world paras as Team Canada bonds

Canada's youngest member part of an emerging next generation

Aly Van Wyck-Smart Canada's youngest swimmer in London breaks an Americas record en route to bronze in the women's 50m backstroke S2. It's Van Wyck-Smart's second medal of the event.  Gord Brown/Toronto Observer

LONDON —  Aly Van Wyck-Smart continued her world para swim debut with a bronze medal Friday at the London Aquatics Centre.

And it was another record-breaking performance.

After setting an Americas and Canadian record earlier in the week to earn silver in the 100-metre backstroke, Van Wyck-Smart did it again with a time of 1:17.76 to claim bronze in the 50-metre backstroke S2 Friday.  

The youngest member of Swim Canada’s team in Great Britain’s capital reflected on her race.

“I would’ve liked to have gone a bit faster,” said Van Wyck-Smart, post-race on day five of the World Para-Swim Championships. “I’m still so happy with how the race went.

“This week has been the best experience I’ve ever had.”

Van Wyck-Smart went on to describe her feeling heading into Tokyo 2020.

“This is my first senior national team even and winning two medals has given me a huge confidence boost,” said the 16-year-old. “It’s really has pushed me to continue to do better.

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Tess Routliffe, Camille Bérubé, and Sabrina Duchesne kicked off Canada’s day dive finals action earlier, and it was Routliffe who had the best chance to continue the nation’s podium run.

Routliffe had the third fastest qualifying time and ended up securing the bronze medal, smashing her own Canadian record by more than three seconds in the women’s 200m individual medley S7.

The 23-year-old with a time of 2:58.06 added to her silver medal on Wednesday and continued Canada’s run of medals secured on each day of the event.

“I’m so happy that I could continue the medal run,” said Routliffe, post-swim at the London Aquatics Centre. “I love representing Canada. I’m just so grateful—the [coaching] staff has been amazing and so many people support me.

“They’ll do whatever you need them to do.”

The Caledon, Ont., native doesn’t just look to her coaching staff for support but turns to fellow teammate and Canadian star Auriele Rivard, who’s claimed two golds and silver in London.

“She’s one of my best friends,” said Routliffe. “We train beside each other, we support each other, and we kind of do everything together.

“There’s a joke on the team that she’s my wife so I’d say we’re pretty close.”

Rivard led Canada’s 4 x 100m medley to a fourth place finish to wrap up Friday’s event.

The St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., native and fellow veteran Katarina Roxon were joined by two swimmers making their world para-swim championship debuts, Shelby Newkirk and Danielle Dorris.

Roxon post-race highlighted the team’s first race together in London.

“It’s pretty cool,” said Roxon. “We all started off as the next generation so it’s great to see what they’re going through because we went through the same thing — so we’re just giving our insight to them as well.”

“Even [the veterans] we’re still growing and I think we’re doing a pretty good together.”

Newkirk, who made her world para swim debut this week capturing a silver medal in the 100m backstroke S7, had the help of Canada’s veteran leadership who are familiar with the venue.

“I’ve learned a lot,” said Newkirk. “These girls, they are definitely amazing people to look up to. We have four people on the team that have competed at this exact pool before and to just have that experience to just guide our way is really nice.

“It really helps us out a lot.”

Two days remain for Canada at the worlds but there is no shortage of team spirit as Rivard finishes her time in London with the 100m backstroke S10 and the 4×100 freestyle relay.

“It ends the week perfectly,” said Rivard. “It’s nice to come together now, it’s just fun and of course, it could get stressful and exciting but it’s so much better to have these girls cheering me on and cheering on each other.”

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Posted: Sep 13 2019 12:16 pm
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Filed under: Parasports Sports Swimming
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