Canada’s Aurelie Rivard’s incredible year saw her win her first world titles, become the most decorated female athlete from the Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games and set a new world record in the women’s 100m freestyle S10.
Her double World Championships gold medals, six Parapan Am titles and record breaking performances enter at No. 25 in the International Paralympic Committee’s Top 50 Moments of 2015.
It all started for the 19-year-old with four wins at the CanAms in Toronto in March, a warm-up for the summer’s IPC Swimming World Championships in Glasgow, Great Britain.
Rivard was clearly in good shape and hoping to better her performance from the 2013 Worlds, where, despite stepping onto the podium five times, she missed out on gold.
At that World Champion edition, New Zealand’s multiple Paralympic and world champion Sophie Pascoe had been dominant.
All eyes turned to Glasgow in July, where the pair went head-to-head at the same pool where Pascoe had been triumphant just the year before over Rivard at the Commonwealth Games.
Rivard sent a very clear message to Pascoe on the opening day of competition at Glasgow 2015, winning the 50m freestyle S10 in an Americas record time. In the days that followed, Rivard added two silver medals in the 100m freestyle, improving on her bronze from 2013, and 200m individual medley.
Then on the final day of competition, Rivard won her second title in the 400m freestyle S10 to end a fantastic week.
However Pascoe was not to be discounted, herself retaining her 100m butterfly and 100m freestyle titles and adding the 200m individual medley S10 to set-up a compelling rivalry for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
But two world titles could not quite compare with what was to come just three weeks later for Rivard.
At her home Parapan Games in Toronto, the teenager ignited Canada.
After winning a silver medal on day one in the 100m breaststroke SB9, Rivard opened her gold medal account on the second day with an incredible two Parapan Am titles in the span of 10 hours.
Her victories propelled her into the limelight and, spurred by the support of a passionate home crowd, Rivard went on to win one gold medal a day for the rest of the competition.
National, local and regional media could not get enough of the youngster, who became mesmerised by her talent.
At the CIBC Aquatics Centre, Rivard rewarded the national support, and near capacity screaming crowds, by breaking Pascoe’s 100m freestyle S10 world record with a 59.17-second swim to close the competition.
Rivard left Toronto as not only the most decorated female athlete, but the third most medalled overall.
Since then, Rivard has continued her appearances in national media and has been voted Swimming Canada’s Para Swimmer of the Year for the second consecutive year.
To find out more about the IPC's Top 50 Moments, visit the dedicated page on the IPC's website.