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Wednesday, October 25, 2000
Four world records for Canadian Paralympic swimmers

SYDNEY (CSN) -- Jessica Sloan of Calgary, Philippe Gagnon of Chicoutimi, Que., Stephanie Dixon of Caledon, Ont., and Danielle Campo of Windsor, Ont., all broke world records for gold medals to highlight a magnificent Canadian swimming performance Wednesday at the Paralympic Games.

The Canadian swimmers are now at a whopping 30 medals (13 gold-10 silver- seven bronze) after six more podium appearances on Wednesday. There's still three days of competition left. The Paralympic swim competition features different finals for different disabilities in each discipline. In the women's S10 100 freestyle, Sloan, a 17-year-old amputee, lowered her own world mark of 1:03.34 in the preliminaries and again in the final clocking 1:01.67. She now has three gold and three world records with four races remaining.

Kendra Berner of the U.S., followed in 1:02.78 and Anne Polinario of Toronto was third in a personal best 1:04.31.

"Breaking the 1:02 barrier was a huge accomplishment for me," said Sloan, who trains alongside Olympic stars Joanne Malar and Curtis Myden at the University of Calgary. "I wanted to get out fast and get the lead right away. I knew the American (Berner) would be strong and that she had held back in the preliminaries."

In the men's S10 100 freestyle, Philippe Gagnon of Chicoutimi, Que., who attempted to make the Olympic team this past spring, clocked a world record 54.30 for the victory and his second gold medal.

It lowered his world standard of 54.42 set at the Paralympic trials in May. Benoit Huot, 16, of St-Hubert, Que., kept pace with Gagnon for 75 metres and followed in 55.46.

"After I finished second in the 100 butterfly in my first race, I've been pretty much out for revenge," said Gagnon, 20, a seven-time world champion. "When I looked over and saw Ben still with me heading into the finish, I just thought about that gold medal."

In the women's S9 100 freestyle, 16-year-old amputee Stephanie Dixon of Caledon, Ont., needed a late charge to the finish to also break her world record and win her second gold in 1:07.12. She edged Melissa Carlton of Australia second in 1:07.27.

"I was prepared for a very close race," said Dixon, who was fourth at the turn and grabbed the lead in the final five metres. "My strategy was just to build for the last length because the finish is my strong point. It came down to who wanted it the most."

In the women's S7 100 freestyle, Danielle Campo of Windsor, Ont., a swimmer with muscular dystrophy, saw her world record broken by two other swimmers. But in the end she regained it with a 1:14.64 clocking in the final.

Lauren Reynolds of the U.S., who broke the record in heats- then saw her teammate Shannon Bothelio lower it again in another heat, was second in 1:16.02. Kristin Hakkonardottir of Iceland was third.

Swimming competition continues through to Saturday.

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