Mac, Brantford swimmer make Canadian team for world championship meet

Two local swimmers and two coaches have been named to the Canadian team that will compete at this year’s International Paralympic Committee Swimming World Championships.

McMaster University Swim club’s Chelsey Gotell and her coach, Andrew Cole, will join Brantford Aquatic Club member Jenna Kayakjuak and her coach Mark Maycock for the competitions in Durban, South Africa in December. Gotell brother, Devin Gotell of the Antigonish Aquanauts in Antigonish, N. S., is also a member of the Canadian team.
Canada will send a team of 24 swimmers with a disability to the Nov. 28 to Dec. 8 event.

Gotell, who has a visual disability, is no stranger to international competition and most recently was a multi-medallist at the Summer Can-Am Disability Championships at San Antonio, Texas. The meet attracted swimmers from Canada, the United States, Mexico, Singapore and Morocco and acted as the World Championship Trials for Swimmers with a disability (SWAD) for both Canada and the US.

The first year McMaster student is the world record holder in the 50 metre and 200m backstroke and competed at the last Commonwealth Games.

In 2004, she represented Canada at the Paralympic Games, and won a gold medal in the 100m backstroke and three bronze medals in the 50m and 100m freestyle and 200 individual medley.

Gotell, 20, began swimming competitively when she was eight, joining the Antigonish Aquanauts Swim Club because a friend was a member. She began competing nationally as a SWAD three years later and by age 14, had graduated to the international ranks by qualifying for Paralympics.

Kayakjuak also had multi-medal winning performances at the San Antonio meet. The 19-year-old is a member of Canada’s development team.

Brantford’s Shauna Belowitz will accompany the team is the swimmers support personnel.

The Canadian team for the IPC meet will be composed of 13 veterans who have seen competition at the Worlds or Paralympics and 11 swimmers who will get their first taste of international Paralympic competition.

“The fact that we have 11 new swimmers on this squad says a great deal about how much the SWAD program has grown since Athens,” says national SWAD coach Craig McCord. “I feel that it is very important that all the coaches and clubs are recognized as being a big part of these successes. They are the strength of Canadian Paralympic swimming program moving forward to great performances in Durban, South Africa in December and Beijing in 2008.”

Other on the Canadian team include:

Drew Christensen, Hyack Swim Club, New Westminster, B.C.; Kirby Cote, Manta Swim Club, Winnipeg; Stephanie Dixon, Pacific Coast Swimming, Victoria, B.C.; Darda Geiger, London Aquatic Club; Valerie Grand’Maison, CAMO Natation, Montreal; Brittany Gray, Barrie Trojans SC, Barrie, Ont.; Andrew Haley, Toronto Swim Club, Brett Hickenbotham, Haney Seahorses SC, Haney, B.C.; Brian Hill, CAMO Natation, Montreal; Jessica Hodgins, Windsor AC, Windsor, Ont.; Benoit Huot, CAMO Natation, Montreal; Laura Jensen, Inconnu Swimming, Ft. St. John, B.C.; Genevieve Ouellet, Universite Laval, Quebec City; Alex Parent, Fort Frances SC, Fort Frances, Ont.; Anne Polinario, CAMO Natation, Montreal; Adam Purdy, London AC; Jacqueline Rennebohm, Regina Y Marlins, Regina, Sask.; Katarina Roxon, Aqua Aces AC, Stephenville, NL; Brad Sales, London AC; Rhea Schmidt, Manta Swim Club, Winnipeg.