COBRA's Matthew Cabraja Newest Member of Canadian Paralympic Team

Ian Roopnarine

Final four swimmers nominated to Canadian Paralympic Team

Swimming Canada announced Thursday the final four swimmers nominated to the Canadian team for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, set to get under way on August 24.

As announced last month following the cancellation of the Paralympic Swimming Trials due to the global COVID-1, in order to fill the remaining four of Canada’s 19 positions, eligible athletes were invited to demonstrate competitive readiness via submission of training logs and data as well as a video-recorded time trial performance.

Nicholas Bennett of Parksville, B.C., Matthew Cabraja of Brampton, Ont., Tammy Cunnington of Ponoka, Alta., and Angela Marina of Cambridge, Ont., earned the coveted nods, thus completing an unusual nomination process that started back in September 2019 at the World Para Swimming Championships in London.

“Nicholas, Matthew, Tammy and Angela along with their coaches have each demonstrated through their performances at the end of May their talent, tenacity, adaptability and ability to perform on demand,” said Wayne Lomas, Swimming Canada Associate High Performance Director and Para Swimming National Coach. “Off the back of these performances, I am confident that they will be in even better shape to perform for Canada in Tokyo this summer.

“I’d also like to pay tribute to the PSOs, technical officials and the countless other volunteers who all assisted our swimmers to submit their performance for demonstrating competitive readiness. While it is our swimmers and coaches who work so hard together for these performances, the opportunity to submit these time-trials required the support and assistance of many other unsung heroes.”

On the nomination list, Bennett, Cabraja, Cunnington and Marina join Alec Elliot, James Leroux, Shelby Newkirk, Aurélie Rivard, Tess Routliffe, Katarina Roxon, Nicolas-Guy Turbide and Aly Van Wyck-Smart, all of whom were nominated in September 2019 after medalling at the WPS Worlds.

Seven more swimmers were then provisionally added to the Tokyo 2020 squad a month ago based on their performances at London 2019, where they all competed in finals. That list included Camille Bérubé, Morgan Bird, Danielle Dorris, Sabrina Duchesne, Nikita Ens, Abi Tripp and Zach Zona.

Recognizing the three-stage process used to finalize the names of the 19 athletes, each swimmer nominated has achieved a 2019 WPS Championship medal or final or the Canada C Time as outlined in the January 2021 version of the Swimming Canada Swimmer and Coach Nomination Criteria for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

The provisional roster includes 12 veterans from Rio 2016, led by reigning Paralympic champions Rivard (50-100-400m freestyle S10) and Roxon (100m breaststroke SB8) as well as fellow medallists Routliffe and Turbide.

“This is the conclusion of a very challenging and different process, far from what we have been accustomed to in our sport,” said Lomas. “I’d like to congratulate every swimmer who the Para Swimming Selection Committee has chosen to nominate, as well as their coaches, families and the countless other friends and supporters who have been part of this process.”

“These have been difficult times and this was a challenging process,” added Swimming Canada’s chief executive officer, Ahmed El-Awadi. “In the end, we’re confident this is the best team to represent Canada. We know they will all do us proud.”

Due to a date conflict with the World Para Swimming event in Berlin, Swimming Canada’s Paralympic Program was not able to take part in the rescheduled Olympic Trials, which were moved from May 24-28 to June 19-23 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic situation in Ontario and other provinces.

SWIMMING CANADA NOMINATION LIST: TOKYO 2020 PARALYMPIC GAMES
 
Name                       Hometown                 Club                                             Coach
Nicholas Bennett        Parksville, B.C.        CHP-Quebec / RAC                    Mike Thompson
Camille Bérubé          Gatineau, Que.        Natation Gatineau                       Craig McCord
Morgan Bird               Calgary, Alta.          CHP-Quebec / Cascade               Mike Thompson
Matthew Cabraja     Brampton, Ont.     Cobra Swim Club / U of T           Ian Roopnarine
Tammy Cunnington     Ponoka, Alta.         Red Deer Catalina SC                   Mandi Smith
Danielle Dorris            Moncton, N.B.        CHP-Quebec / CN Bleu et Or          Ryan Allen
Sabrina Duchesne     St-Augustin, Que.     Rouge et Or                                 Johanne Girardin
Alec Elliot                    Kitchener, Ont.        Club de Natation Région de Québec     Marc-André Pelletier
Nikita Ens                    Meadow Lake, Sask.     Saskatoon Lasers Swim Club           Eric Kramer
James Leroux             Repentigny, Que.           CHP-Quebec / UL                             Mike Thompson
Angela Marina            Cambridge, Ont.             Brantford Aquatic Club                     Paul Armstrong
Shelby Newkirk           Saskatoon, Sask.            Saskatoon Lasers Swim Club          Eric Kramer
Aurélie Rivard            St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que.     Club de Natation Région de Québec     Marc-André Pelletier
Tess Routliffe             Caledon, Ont.                  CHP-Quebec / UL                            Mike Thompson
Katarina Roxon          Kippens, N.L.                   Aqua Aces Swim Club                      Leonard Roxon
Abi Tripp                    Kingston, Ont.                  Kingston Y Penguins Aquatic Club     Vicki Keith
Nicolas-Guy Turbide     Quebec City, Que.        Club de Natation Région de Québec     Marc-André Pelletier
Aly Van Wyck-Smart     Toronto, Ont.                 OSA / Variety Village                             Don Burton
Zach Zona                    Waterford, Ont.              CHP-Quebec / NHAC                             Mike Thompson