Former Nelson Neptunes swimmer Sarah Mehain won a silver medal in record style on opening day of the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.
Mehain was second in the women’s S7 (para) 50-metre butterfly on Thursday. Her goal was to go a lifetime best in two-arm fly, which was previously 38.24 seconds. She went 37.2 in the preliminaries, then 37.6 in finals. She beat her Canadian teammate Tess Routliffe of Caledon, Ont., by two-tenths of a second for the silver.
“It was a really solid race for me,” Mehain told CBC TV Sports. ”I’ve made some adjustments to my stroke and it seems to be working out really good.”
Mehain, who swims for McGill Redmen varsity squad in both her freshman and sophomore years, is in her final semester working towards an arts and science degree, majoring in sustainability science and sociology. She turned 23 in January.
She has cerebral palsy and is hemiplegic, which results in one side of her body being weaker than the other and not as co-ordinated. She has previously competed in numerous major competitions, including the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, the 2015 International Paralympic Committee world championships in Glasgow, the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and the 2017 CanAm para-swim championships in Windsor, Ont.
Mehain had to work really hard the last couple of months to get fast at the two-arm fly. The rules were changed this year before Commonwealth Games, making it so athletes like Sarah could no longer do the one-arm fly even though it was faster. She had only been doing the one-arm fly in preparation for Rio so she had to retrain the two-arm in a short period of time.
“Initially she didn’t think that she could do it, but she did,” said Sarah’s mother, Mae Hooper.