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Saturday, October 28, 2000
Canadian swimmers end Games with 10 more medals


 SYDNEY (CSN) -- The Canadian Paralympic swim team re-enforced itself as a world power for the foreseeable future as it completed the Games Saturday with 10 more medals to finish the competition with an incredible 48 podium appearances.

 Canada earned 23 gold, 15 silver and 10 bronze to edge Spain by one in the gold medal count. The Canadians set 20 world records and 23 Paralympic marks. The average age of the team is only 18.5 years-old, the youngest in the world.

 Jessica Sloan of Calgary emerged as the individual swimming star with six gold medals all in world record time. On Saturday she took the 50 freestyle and helped Canada to victory in the 4X100 medley relay with Elisabeth Walker of Toronto, Stephanie Dixon of Caledon, Ont., and Darda Geiger of Sarnia, Ont.

 "We set some lofty objectives for this team and they came through in flying colours," said an ecstatic Canadian national team head coach Andrew Craven of London, Ont. "Integrating the disabled swimmers in the mainstream program has been a key factor in our success. We have a lot of support and we are fully part of high performance swimming program in Canada. It looks as though we'll have success for a long time to come."

 Other Canadian winners in 50 freestyle races Saturday were Danielle Campo of Windsor, Ont., and Benoit Huot of St-Hubert, Que., who set a world record. The men's 4X100 medley relay with Huot, Adam Purdy of London, Ont., Andrew Haley of Dartmouth, N.S., and Philippe Gagnon of Ste-Foy, Que., were also winners in world record time.

 Silver medallists in 50 freestyles were Dixon, Kirby Cote of Winnipeg and Jessica Tuomela of Sault Ste Marie, Ont.

 Bronze medallists in 50 freestyles were Anne Polinario of Toronto and Chelsea Gottel of Antigonish, N.S.

 "We bonded really well as a team," said Purdy, who broke the world record in his 100 backstroke leg in the medley relay. "We were together for a month and everybody just came together. It's been a great experience for everyone. Coming into the meet we knew we were the best swimming nation and our performances showed that."
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