Former Nelson Neptune swimmer Sarah Mehain has won a bronze medal at the 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships in Glasgow.
Mehain, 20, came third in the 50m butterfly S7 with a time of 36.98 seconds. (Categories are S2 to S14 with S2 as the highest level of disability.)
She qualified for the finals after a stellar performance during the heats. She and American Cortney Jordan were neck-and-neck in lanes beside each other. Mehain finished a fraction of a second behind Jordan in a time of 37.56, compared to Jordan’s 37.43.
“You could hardly tell who was first,” said Sarah’s mother Mae, who watched the competition on the Internet with her husband.
“It went so incredibly well and for her to come out and stand on the podium — a young Canadian — and hear the announcer call out her name just gives me goose bumps.”
Since birth Mehain has had right-sided hemiplegia, which means that side of her body is weaker. Swimming since she was three, she has trained hard and as a result has a very strong body.
As a child, Mehain swam with the Nelson Neptunes for 12 years including swim meets every summer. She joined the Kokanee swim club when her family moved to Vernon when she was 12.
Mehain attends McGill University in Montreal and trains on the varsity team with coach Peter Carpenter. Mae said Sarah is swimming the best she ever has, shedding time off her personal bests.
Mae said her daughter is “incredibly happy” and grateful for her parents’ support.
“She wanted this medal really bad,” said Mae. “You could just see the great big smile on her face on the podium. And her coach is really happy with what she has done.”
Sarah will head to Gatineau, Que. this week for a staging camp to prepare for the 2015 Parapan Am Games to be held in Toronto next month. These games are the qualifiers for the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. Sarah is no stranger to serious competition. She competed at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London and reached the final in four of her six events.
To watch video of Mehain competing on Saturday visit youtube.com/watch?v=2-7ffW6oyfY.