Parksville swimmer Nicholas Bennett has won a silver medal and set a new Canadian record at the 2022 World Para Swimming Championships in Portugal.
It is the first world championships for the 18-year-old former member of the Ravensong Breakers swim club in Qualicum Beach. On opening day, June 12, Bennett competed in the men’s 200-metre free S14 where he finished second in a time of 1:54.41 to again shatter own Canadian record.
Brazil’s Gabriel Bandeira beat him to the wall in 1:52.42.
“It feels amazing,” said Bennett, who had also lowered his national mark in the event in Tokyo and then at the Canadian Trials in April.
“It sets me up very well for the rest of the week. Anything can happen but it does take some pressure off of my shoulders.”
Heading to the world championships, Bennett has been progressing rapidly well, having posted promising results in a couple of world events. At the Lima 2019 Parapan American Games, Bennett claimed three gold medals and one silver as a 15-year-old.
He went on to compete at his first Paralympic Games in 2020 where he thrived reaching the final in three of his four events. He placed fifth in the 100-metre breaststroke, sixth in the 200 freestyle and seventh in the 200 individual medley and broke his own Canadian S14 record in all four events.
At the national trials held in Victoria, he once again shattered his national S14 marks in the 100 breast, 200 free, 100 fly and 200 IM to qualify for Madeira 2022 and the 2022 Commonwealth Games, set for July 28 to Aug. 8 in Birmingham, U.K.
Bennett has been training at the High Performance Centre – Québec in Montreal under the guidance of Canadian swimming coach Mike Thompson.
— NEWS Staff