From 10 to 13 July, several world records were broken at the Can-Am Open for swimmers with a disability. The Championships, which were the last opportunity for most teams and individuals to seriously compete before the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, took place at Saanich Commonwealth Place in Victoria, Canada.
With a total of 123 athletes from ten countries competing, it was a good opportunity to give the audience a preview of what would be in Beijing. The countries participating in the meet included: Argentina, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Germany, Greece, Malaysia, Mexico, Portugal, USA and Venezuela.
Starting off the record breaking trend was Valerie Grand Maison (CAN), who clocked 33.74 seconds in the Women’s 50m Backstroke (S13). Also following the impressive swim was Jessica Long (USA), setting a new mark of 1:12.90 in the Women’s 100m Butterfly (S8) in the preliminaries. This was a break from the previous record set in 2006.
Donovan Tildesley (CAN) broke his own record in the Men’s 1500m Freestyle on the final day with 19:02.11 (S11). Kyle McMahon (CAN) was able to set two new records in the Men’s 50m Breaststroke with 47.35 seconds and in the Men’s 200m Breaststroke with 3:42.85 (SB7).
Though fairly dominated by performances from the Canadian and US teams, Mexico and Germany also held impressive swims. Mexico dominated the Women’s 100m Freestyle Finals with half the swimmers, and German swimmers won top places in the Men’s 50m Breaststroke (SB1-9, SB11-14), Men’s 100m Backstroke (S1-14) and the Women’s 1500m Freestyle (S7-14).