Vernon’s Sarah Mehain displays her silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia. (Swimming Canada Photo)

Mehain swims for silver

Commonwealth Games in Australia

Sarah Mehain of Vernon won a silver swimming medal in record style on opening day of the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.

Mehain was second in the women’s S7 (para) 50-metre butterfly. Her goal was to go a lifetime best in two-arm fly which was previously 38.24. She went 37.2 in the preliminaries, then 37.6 in finals. She beat her Canadian teammate Tess Routliffe of Caledon, Ont. by two-tenths of a second for the silver.

“It was a really solid race for me,” Mehain told CBC TV Sports. ”I’ve made some adjustments to my stroke and it seems to be working out really good.”

Mehain, who swims for McGill Redmen varsity squad in both her freshman and sophomore years, is in her final semester working towards an Arts & Science degree, majoring in sustainability science and sociology. She turned 23 in January.

She has cerebral palsy and is hemiplegic, which results in one side of her body being weaker than the other and not as coordinated. She has previously competed in numerous major competitions, including the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, the 2015 International Paralympic Committee world championships in Glascow, the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and the 2017 CanAm para-swim championships in Windsor, Ont.

Mehain had to work really hard the last couple of months to get fast at the two-arm fly. The rules were changed this year before Commonwealth Games, making it so athletes like Sarah could no longer do the one-arm fly even though it was faster. She had only been doing the one-arm fly in preparation for Rio so she had to retrain the two-arm in a short period of time.

“Initially she didn’t think that she could do it, but she did,” said Sarah’s mother, Mae Hooper.

McGill head coach Peter Carpenter – in his ninth year with the Redmen – said solely focusing on the 50-metre fly helped Mehain achieve her goal. They were told in December about the new regulations.

“It was quite the curveball…She basically had an exemption taken away so she had four months to re-learn something she hadn’t done in four years and I think we did well,” Carpenter told The Morning Star.

Carpenter said Mehain went into what will likely be her only Commonwealth Games with the “Let’s see what I can accomplish” attitude. Schooling commitments prevented her from attending the worlds last October in Mexico.

Mehain won bronze in the 50-metre butterfly at the 2015 International Paralympic Committee world swimming championships in Glasgow.

She also competed at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London and reached the final in four of her six events. She placed sixth in the 50-metre butterfly and seventh in three other events, namely the 50m freestyle, 100m breaststroke and 200m individual medley. Her time in the breaststroke was a Canadian record and she bettered her personal best IM time by six seconds.

Sarah comes from an athletic family. Her older sister, Heather Mehain, is a competitive cross-country skier. A younger sister, Hannah Mehain, skis and swims. Her mother is also competitive in cross-country skiing and earned silver at the 2011 Masters World Cup.

Kelowna swimmer Taylor Ruck, 17, won a gold medal in the 200-metre lifestyle, setting a record in one minute, 54.81 seconds.

Ruck teamed up with Toronto’s Penny Oleksiak and Kayla Sanchez and Alexia Zevnik of Montreal to strike silver in the 4×100 relay won by Australia in a world-record 3:30.05.

Just Posted

It’s a YES for the cultural centre

Vernon voters delivered a huge YES in the Cultural Centre Referendum.

Cumming wins Vernon mayor’s chair

‘I felt pretty good about the campaign right from the beginning.’

Three new faces on Vernon council

Like he did in 2014, Quiring topped the polls, collecting 4,120 votes.

Vernon School District sees five new trustees

Only two incumbents, Mollie Bono and Robert Lee, are returning to SD22

Dirt biking accident near Coldstream lands one in hospital

Undetermined injuries in crash on Sunday

The Valley Votes: Your election results

The results are in from the 2018 municipal election.

Eye witnesses sought in Kelowna suspected robbery attempt

Incident occured Sunday, Oct. 21 near downtown

B.C. Youtuber to seal himself ‘in a jar’ to demonstrate impacts of climate change

Kurtis Baute wants to see how long he can last in a 1,000 cubic foot, air-tight greenhouse

One of Taiwan’s fastest trains derails, killing at least 18

The train was carrying more than 360 people

Scheer marks one-year countdown to federal election with campaign-style speech

Conservative Leader insists that it will be Justin Trudeau who ‘makes it personal’

Canada Post union announces rotating strikes in four Canadian cities

Mail will still be delivered but it will be delayed

B.C. VIEWS: Residents have had enough of catering to squatters

Media myth of homeless victims offends those who know better

Most Read