Mortimer, para swimming team enjoying London arrival

The Canadian swim team arrives in London. (Photo: CPC/Louis Daignault)

LONDON – After a 12-day training camp in Italy, Canada’s 24-member Para swimming team landed in London and moved into the Paralympic Athlete Village on Wednesday (Aug. 22) for the 2012 Paralympic Games Aug. 29 – Sept. 9.

“It’s hard to contain the excitement that we are here in London,” said Summer Mortimer of Ancaster, a four –time world champion competing at her first Games. “The atmosphere is absolutely incredible and we are still six days from the start of the Games.”

The Canadian Para swimming team spent the past two weeks at the Getur Sports School in Lignanoso Sabbidaro located near Venice which features a 50-metre Olympic pool.

“We had a great training camp and everyone is looking really good,” said Canada’s head coach Craig McCord of Vancouver. “We had quality preparation but the kids are now ready to move on and we are happy to be here.”

In Beijing, Canadian Para swimmers won seven gold, seven silver and nine bronze. Valérie Grand’Maison of Montreal led the charge with three gold two silver and a bronze. Benoit Huot of Montreal, an eight-time Paralympic champion, added four bronze and visually impaired swimmer Donovan Tildesley of Vancouver added a bronze as well.

All three are back with Huot and Tildesley entered for a fourth straight Games. Others to watch include young veterans Amber Thomas of Drayton Valley, Alta., and Katarina Roxon of Stephenville, N.L., who were 14 and 15-years-old respectively on the 2008 team.

The opening ceremonies are on Aug. 29 and the swimming competition starts a 10-day run the following day.