Vernon swimmers make the grade

Vernon swimmers Riley McLean and Sarah Mehain have been named to Canada’s team for the Parapan Am Games in Toronto in August.

  • Mar. 27, 2015 10:00 a.m.

Morning Star Staff

Vernon swimmers Riley McLean and Sarah Mehain have been named to Canada’s team for the Parapan Am Games in Toronto in August.

They were both chosen following the Speedo Can Am Para-swimming Championships last weekend in Toronto. Swimming Canada nominated a total of 40 of the nation’s best para-swimmers, 24 men and 16 women, to the team.

McLean, 15, pocketed three gold medals and swam a new Canadian record at the Cam-Am meet.

“Riley’s meet was stellar,” said Vernon Kokanee coach Renata Terpstra, who accompanied him to nationals. “It’s very exciting for the swimmer and coach. I trained him for the last year and a half and he has improved so much.”

McLean struck gold in the 50-metre S4 butterfly with a PB of 1:19.70 and in his last race Saturday won the gold medal in the S4 50 free with a PB of 1:00.90, shaving off 11 seconds of his PB and just out-touching Brian Hinman of the U.S.

Mehain, 20, suffers from hemiplegia, a condition that affects her coordination as one side of her body is stronger than the other. She was coached by Terpstra but now is trained by Bruce Carpenter at McGill University in Montreal.

The team includes 15 Paralympians, including 19-time Paralympic medallist Benoit Huot (Longueuil, Que.), a veteran of the national team at age 31. Swimming Canada Para-swimming national head coach Craig McCord of Richmond will serve as head coach.

“The team this summer is made up of 25 swimmers (including Mehain) who will also compete at IPC World Championships in Glasgow and have the potential to compete for medals at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games,” said McCord.

“The TO2015 group will include those 25, along with 15 swimmers (including McLean) from our next generation group. We are working in a number of areas to develop our next generation of athletes identified as 2020 podium potential, and they will have the opportunity to compete at Parapan Ams on home soil.”