Reyes hoping Toronto 2015 will be ‘great’ for Mexico

Paralympic champion Juan Reyes is relishing the chance to swim at his fourth Para Pan American Games in Canada. 30 Jul 2015
Man in wheelchair on the podium receiving a medal from a woman

Mexico's Juan Reyes receives his men's 50m backstroke S4 medal at the 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships in Glasgow, Great Britain.

ⒸLuc Percival
By Edith Carmichael

Mexican Paralympic champion Juan Reyes is firmly back in the pool after a knee injury saw him out of action in late 2014, and is relishing the chance to compete at his fourth Para Pan American Games at Toronto 2015.


Reyes, the men’s 50m backstroke S4 gold medallist from London 2012, is one of his country’s most prolific athletes having climbed onto the podium at every World Championships and Paralympic Games since 1998.


After sitting out on the latter part of 2014 due to the injury, Reyes won silver in the 50m backstroke at July’s IPC Swimming World Championships in Glasgow, Great Britain. He was the highest ranked swimmer in the event from the Americas, placing him in pole position to take gold in Canada.


"I will be in Toronto, I hope it to be a great competition for Mexico," he said.


However, the 33-year-old is beginning to feel the pressure from younger swimmers from around the world who came to the fore in Glasgow.


“It’s been a very hard competition for me because the new athletes are coming up but it’s natural," he said.


Despite finding the Worlds challenging, the world record in his favourite event has belonged to Reyes since 1998 and is something he is extremely proud of: "It feels great. The world record I hope will stay there for many, many years."


Having achieved such an impressive record in his career so far, Reyes is now at the point where every medal is a bonus and he can start to enjoy the thrill of the chase.


However that also means that he has reduced the number of events he enters, preferring to stick with the 50m backstroke.


For Reyes, the aim of Toronto 2015 is simple: "I just want to have fun in the competition."

The 2015 Para Pan American Games open on 7 August, with swimming competitions beginning the very next day.

Around 1,600 athletes from 28 countries will compete across 15 sports until 15 August, aiming to qualify for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.