Nicholas Bennett sets Canadian record in 200 metre freestyle

Finishes under one second off the podium after strong final 50m

Nicholas Bennett, pictured here in the men's S14 100m Butterfly heats, set a Canadian record in the 200-m freestyle Scott Grant Canadian Paralympic Committee

Canada’s youngest athlete at the 2020 Paralympics, Nicholas Bennett, has come out strong in the pool, beating his own Canadian record in the 200-metre freestyle S14 by nearly two seconds.

The 17-year-old finished sixth overall in the race, but swam an impressive time of 1:56.52, ending up just under one second from being on the podium. 

Despite being in eighth place after the first 150 metres of the race, Bennett swam the final stretch in a remarkable time of 29.17 seconds to get himself into medal contention.  

Reece Dunn of Great Britain won the race and broke his own world record, posting a time of 1:52.40 while holding off Gabriel Bandeira of Brazil, who also finished below the former world record with a time of 1:52.74. Viacheslav Emeliantsev of the Russian Paralympic Committee (1:55.58) took home the bronze. 

“My race was a lot better than this morning. I went out a little bit too quick this morning,” Bennett said post-event. “I fixed that this evening. Just a second off from being third.”

Not only is this his first Paralympics, but it’s also only his second-ever international competition. He previously competed at the 2019 Parapan American Games in Lima, where he won three golds and a silver at just 15 years of age.

“In the next couple of years, I’ll be able to compete more,” he said. 

The Parksville, B.C. native only began swimming seven years ago, and moved from his small town of 12,500 to Montreal when he was 15 to train at the prestigious High-Performance Centre-Quebec with coach Mike Thompson.

The Male Para Swim of the Meet winner at the 2019 Canadian Swimming Trials competes under the S14 classification.

Bennett will have plenty more chances to get on the podium, as he will be competing in the 100m butterfly, 100m breaststroke and 200-m individual medley later in The Games, all events he holds Canadian records in. 

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Posted: Aug 27 2021 2:52 pm
Filed under: Parasports Sports Swimming Tokyo Paralympics