Ottawa, October 26, 2023 – A team of 14 athletes has been nominated to represent Canada in Para swimming at the Santiago 2023 Parapan Am Games, the Canadian Paralympic Committee and Swimming Canada announced Thursday.
Santiago 2023 Canadian Parapan Am Team – PARA SWIMMING
Half of the squad also comes in with world championships experience. Seven of the 14 athletes represented Canada at the 2022 World Para Swimming Championships in Madeira, Portugal.
Morrier and MacDonald, both three-time Parapan Am medallists, look to lead their new teammates.
“As a veteran, I hope to be able to help the new generation of Para swimmers with my experience at Santiago,” said Morrier, a double gold medallist at the Toronto 2015 Games making her return to Parapan Am competition.
MacDonald will also be making his second Parapan Am Games appearance and will be looking to defend his title in the 100m backstroke S14 from the 2019 edition in Lima, Peru.
“It is truly an honor to be able to represent Canada once again,” said MacDonald, who currently holds the Canadian records in both the 50m backstroke and the 200m backstroke in the S14 category. “The feeling of wearing the maple leaf never gets old. The Parapan American Games will always hold a special place in my heart as this was my very first national team qualification back in 2019.
“My hope is to inspire the team to be their very best, have fun while racing on this stage, and truly take in the moment.”
The Parapan Am Games will work as a stepping stone for many who have their sights set on making a Paralympic team one day.
For Gobeil, it is a special accomplishment in making her first national team.
“I am very proud,” said Gobeil, who is coming off a strong 2023 Canadian Swimming Championships this past August. “I am sure this experience will be unforgettable and very rewarding. I hope this will allow me to go even further.”
Among the other athletes who are making their first national team and Parapan American Games debuts are Helberg and Lu. Helberg is also coming off a successful 2023 Canadian Swimming Championships where he lowered his own 100m backstroke S12 Canadian record.
“It makes me very proud to represent my country and I am extremely grateful to everyone who has helped me reach this point,” said Helberg.
Lu, who picked up three gold medals in multi-class events at the 2023 Canadian Swimming Championships, delivered a solid performance at the 2023 Para Swimming World Series event in Guadalajara, Mexico earlier this month to help book his ticket to Santiago.
“It’s really exciting to be able to travel to another country to compete,” said Lu. “There are not a lot of opportunities like this.”
Para swimming races will run November 18-24 in Santiago. The event is not a qualifier for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, but does offer an opportunity for athletes to become eligible for Paris and meet a minimum qualification standard for the Paralympic Games.
“Congratulations to all 14 Para swimmers nominated to the Canadian Parapan Am Team,” said Karolina Wisniewska, co-chef de mission, Santiago 2023 Canadian Parapan Am Team. “I know we have many athletes on this team who will be heading to their first multi-sport Games, and I can’t wait to support them through this exciting moment in their careers. It is always a special feeling to represent Canada on the international stage, whether it is your first or 10th time, and I wish each swimmer the best of luck in Santiago.”
“I am so pleased to send a big warm welcome to the entire Para swimming contingent for the Santiago Games,” said Josh Vander Vies, co-chef de mission. “It is a huge achievement to compete at the Parapan Am Games, and it will be a thrill to witness so many racers experience their first Games in Santiago. I am certain there will be many incredible performances to celebrate, and will be there to cheer on all 14 swimmers.”
The Santiago 2023 Parapan Am Games will take place November 17-26, 2023 in Santiago, Chile. Canada is expecting to send a team of approximately 140 athletes.
Prior to being officially named to the Canadian Parapan Am Team, all nominations are subject to approval by the Canadian Paralympic Committee.
The current list of athletes nominated to the team can be found HERE. The approved final roster will be announced closer to the start of the Games.