Swimmer Duchesne with stellar outcome she “would not have expected”

Young Canadian powers into final at Tokyo, finishes 6th

Sabrina Duchesne
Swimmer Sabrina Duchesne at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo Scott Grant

Sabrina Duchesne made an impact in every race she swam in Tokyo, and her last performance was no different.

The St-Augustin, Que. native broke her personal best not once, but twice in the same day as she sped to the end of the 100-metre freestyle S7 final at the Paralympics on Tuesday.

Finishing sixth in 1:14.55, Duchesne cut her eighth-place qualifying time of 1:14.95. 

“I would not have expected that outcome today,” the 20-year-old said after the final. “Being sixth in the world in the 100 free is really amazing.”

The race comes just two days after Duchesne won her first Paralympic medal with the 400-metre 34-point relay team that claimed bronze. Earlier the same day, she broke her own Canadian record in the 400-metre freestyle, coming fifth with 5:20.59.

Tokyo was Duchesne’s debut in the S7 category at the Paralympics. In Rio 2016 she competed in five events, all S8, her best finish being fifth in her heat of the 400-metre freestyle.  

“My times (in Tokyo) was great,” she said. “Despite the restrictions, I was able to cheer for my teammates. For sure it’s going to be hard to leave them but I’m going to cheer from home now and they’re going to do great the rest of the way.”

Canadians swimming alongside Duchesne in the 100-metre preliminaries on Tuesday were Shelby Newkirk of Saskatoon, Sask. and Camille Bérubé of Gatineau, Que., but neither advanced. 

Newkirk, an S6 athlete, placed 11th with 1:19.06 after competing up a class. Bérubé finished 12th in 1:19.64. 

Tuesday’s event was competitive, as three swimmers set records. 

Italy’s Giulia Terzi captured gold with a new Paralympic standard of 1:09.21, followed by McKenzie Coan of the United States. 

Ukraine’s Yelyzaveta Mereshko and China’s Yuyan Jiang tied for third in 1:11.07, both S6 swimmers who set a new world record for their class. 

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Posted: Aug 31 2021 1:10 pm
Filed under: Sports Swimming Tokyo Paralympics