LONDON – When you’re one of the most dominant athletes on the planet, even your definition of fun can involve winning medals.
At least if you’re Aurélie Rivard.
The Canadian para-swimming superstar went four-for-four in her individual events at the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships in London after claiming a bronze medal in the S10 100m backstroke on Saturday night.
But for the three-time Paralympic gold medallist, her final event of the world championships was simply for fun.
“I was way more relaxed in the call room,” said Rivard. “Maybe too much, which is not better than being too stressed, I usually perform well under stress but because I didn’t have pressure I think that helps.”
Rivard adds the bronze medal to her haul in London which already includes two golds and a silver through the first five days. But despite her success earlier in the week, this result still came as a surprise.
“It was so unexpected,” she said. “I was aiming for fifth or fourth or just get my ranking as high as I could but I never thought I could medal in this event. I didn’t train it enough, but I’m very happy. I’ll take it. I should do it again.”
The St-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, QC., native will now head on a well-earned vacation, knowledge that helped her to the finish line.
“Knowing that it was my last event, I was kind of like leave whatever you have left,” she said. “Do your best and after that I will have vacations so that idea that was kind of motivating me so I touched the wall faster.”
Day six stretched Canada’s multi-medal winning streak to six days as Rivard joined James Leroux on the podium. The Repentigny, Qc., native opened the night session by breaking the Americas record on his way to silver in the SB9 100m breaststroke.
Katarina Roxon and Tess Routliffe also competed in finals on Saturday night, both failing to reach the podium.
For Routliffe, Rivard’s close friend, it was her fifth individual event of the meet. After picking up a silver and bronze earlier in the week, she finished off her world championships with a 6th place finish in the S7 100m freestyle.
“I think it was all I could ask for today,” she said, while admitting to feeling fatigued after a long week. “I’ve had a pretty stressful week but also a pretty great week. I went in with no pressure and no worries and it was really nice after having a lot of nerves the past couple of races and so I just wanted to have fun with it.”
The world championships wrap up tomorrow, but it is the heaviest day for Canada with 10 swimmers and a relay team, which could feature Rivard, in action.