Team Canada was already racking up the medals on the first full day of the Down Syndrome World Swimming Championships in Truro on Saturday.
Athletes from 25 different countries and territories swam in both individual and relay races on Saturday at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre. Team Canada had picked up three golds, one bronze and one silver as of Saturday afternoon.
Winners from every team were presented medals on a podium next to the swimming pool, as the national anthems of their respective countries were played and their nations’ flags displayed.
“It just demonstrates the resiliency from the families and the support that you can see here amongst people from around the world,” said Team Canada coach Darcy Irwin. “It’s a great feeling, you can see smiles on their faces when they’re doing it and the excitement on their faces when they win.”Team Canada includes Truro swimmer Matthew Hunter, who at time of writing on Saturday had not yet won a medal but was improving his times, according to Irwin.
Irwin said that his athletes were swimming at about 90 to 95 per cent best times, improving on their personal records.
“They are all improving on their personal bests that they’ve ever swam before,” said Irwin.
He added that the DSWSC was a unique event, as people with Down Syndrome were unable to compete fairly in either the Special Olympics or Paralympics, as their condition includes both physical and mental challenges.
On Friday evening, hundreds of swimmers and their supporters attended an opening ceremony at Truro’s Civic Square featuring the teams marching in under the flags of their respective nations.
As the host nation, Team Canada was the last group to enter as they were cheered on by the crowds.
Full results for the first day of races are not yet in, but the Truro News will update this story once we receive them.