McGill swimmer Grand'Maison strikes gold at Paralympic Games

McGill's Valerie Grand’Maison became the fifth Canadian to win a gold medal at the Paralympic Games, Friday. On top of the gold, Grand'Maison has earned a pair of silver medals in the pool as well.
Valerie Grand’Maison shows off gold medal with McGill swim coach Peter Carpenter. / Photo: Vikki Crane

McGill’s Valerie Grand’Maison became the fifth Canadian to win a gold medal at the Paralympic Games, Friday.

The 24-year-old swimmer from Fleurimont, Que., won the women’s 200-metre individual medley in a visually impaired class in world-record time. She eclipsed the previous mark with a time of two minutes, 27.64 seconds.

“I was not expecting a world record,” said Grand’Maison, a psychology and history senior at McGill. “I did not expect to go that fast. That’s the best prize, to be surprised at myself.”

It was her third medal in London after claiming silver in both the 100 and 50 freestyle.

“The pressure is finally off,” Grand’Maison said. “I have had a rough week. I have had highs and lows, but I have overcome all this. Tonight I am going to hug my coach, tell him I love him, see my family, tell them I love them. I’m going to cry on the podium.”

“It was a great night…a perfect race,” said McGill swim coach Peter Carpenter who is working with Grand’Maison at the Games.

Grand’Maison races the 100-metre breaststroke Saturday, but feels she’s a long shot for a medal there.

With two days of competition remaining in London, Canada had five gold, 14 silver and eight bronze medals for a total of 27.