“I wanted to go into the Games, enjoy every minute of it, embrace the moment and have the time of our life.”
Fresh from winning his 20th Paralympic medal at Rio 2016, Canadian swimmer Benoit Huot wants to take some weeks to plan his next steps in the sport.
The 32-year-old says he still loves “competing and training” and would “love to stay in the water as long as I can.”
Huot has claimed nine golds, five silvers and six bronzes over five Paralympic Games, and is still hoping to be in Tokyo 2020 in four-years-time in some capacity.
“Not sure what my role will be but I will make sure I am there to continue raising awareness of Para sports,” said Huot, who has also sealed 31 medals at World Championships during a glittering career.
In Rio, the Canadian won bronze in the men’s 400m freestyle S10 with a time of 4:04.63. Ukraine’s Maksym Krypak (3:57.71) and Denys Dubrov (4:00.11) took gold and silver, respectively.
“It was a very special moment for me, especially because I achieved a personal best at 32-years-old. That is what I am most proud of,” he said.
“I had lots of energy going into the race and execute the rest as planned.”
Before competing at Rio 2016, Huot already knew that Latin America’s first Paralympic Games could be his last opportunity to hit the 20-medal mark.
“I wanted to go into the Games, enjoy every minute of it, embrace the moment and have the time of our life,” he said.
Amongst the things he enjoyed the most, the Canadian mentioned the “Brazilian fans because they were always at the pool cheering for all swimmers.”
Huot started his career in 1998, but admits he still feels nervous before diving into the pool.
“I do, every time. It is part of the excitement and why we are competitive. They are good nerves,” he said.
Since he began swimming competitively, Huot has seen first-hand the evolution of Para sports.
“The Paralympic Movement has grown so much in the last 20 years,” he said.
“We are happy to see the increase of visibility and credibility of it. But we need to continue working hard so it is even better in 20 years from now.”