Brianna Nelson wins gold at paralympic swimming worlds
Benoit Huot, Sarah Mehain finish just off podium
Brianna Nelson of Victoria became Canada's latest gold-medal winner at the International Paralympic Committee swimming world championships in Montreal on Saturday, finishing first in the women's S7 50-metre butterfly.
It was the first big international win for the 20-year-old, who made noise last summer at the Paralympic Games with two silver medals.
"Fantastic, exciting," said Nelson, who executes the stroke with one arm due to cerebral palsy which affects the right side of her body.
"You just have to trust yourself. I wanted to look over at the other lane but I knew that doing that could have potentially messed up my entire race. It wasn't a race I was expecting to win, but I wanted to perform well. To get the gold on top of that is amazing."
Nelson broke her Canadian record for the win, clocking 35.70 seconds. Susannah Rodgers of Britain placed second in 36.76, and Nikita Howarth of New Zealand finished third in 37.34. Sarah Mehain of Vernon, B.C., was fifth in a personal best 38.38.
Just missing out
Canada was hoping for another medal in the men's S10 100-m backstroke but multiple Paralympic champion Benoit Huot of Montreal finished fourth in a close race that saw the top four competitors finish within 0.78 seconds of each other.
World record holder Justin Zook of the U.S. won the gold in 1:00.09, Andre Brasil of Brazil was second in 1:00.44 and Kardo Ploomipuu of Estonia finished third in 1:00.85. Huot followed in 1:00.87, the second fastest time of his career.
"It was a good race and I can't be disappointed," said Huot, the 200 individual medley champion earlier this week. "I felt really good and I was confident."
Canada has 12 medals — four of each colour — after six days of competition.
Competitors in classifications S1 through S10 have a physical limitation, while classifications S11 through S13 are for competitors with a visual impairment. A lower number indicates a more severe condition.