At only 18 years old, Danielle Dorris has just made her dream come true. The young Moncton swimmer on Monday won a silver medal in the S7 100-meter backstroke, giving the Canadian swim team a fifth podium at the Paralympic Games.
The para-athlete quickly took the lead with a strong underwater start and was first on the turn in 38.22, just ahead of American Mallory Weggemann (38.84).
Weggermann came from behind in the last pitch to win the race in a 1: 21.27. Dorris posted her best personal performance clocking 1: 21.91, edging out world record-holder Julia Gaffney of the United States.
Her performance is all the more remarkable as she finished 64 hundredths of a second behind her competitor who sets the Paralympic record. The swimmer, a member of the Moncton / Dieppe Bleu et Or Swimming Club, was 15th in the S8 100 backstroke at the 2016 Rio Games when she was just 13 years old.
“My plan was really to use my strength, which is really my start and the underwater portion, as well as the turn,” she explains. “Being the only swimmer in the race without a leg handicap, I was able to use her to my advantage. My main goal was not to kill my legs on the way back. ”
Born with a defect in both arms, Danielle Dorris discovered swimming at the age of 12. Today she is a tremendous ambassador for Canadian parasport.
Her father, Jean-Pierre Dorris, got up at dawn to follow his daughter’s achievement live. “Pride dominates,” he exclaims euphorically. “She executed her plan wonderfully, she showed other swimmers what she can do!”
“It represents so many hours, it means getting up early and going to practice twice a day, it represents huge sacrifices,” says Jean-Pierre Dorris. This summer, we went to see my parents in Quebec, whom we had not seen since January 2020, but Danielle could not come, she had to train … “
Here she is already guaranteed to return from her second Games with at least one medal. Dorris narrowly missed a podium finish last Friday when she finished five hundredths of a second behind third in the 200-meter medley.
On Friday, from 6:04 am, she will take part in the start of a third event, the 50m butterfly, which is her specialty. Indeed, Dorris achieved his Canadian record last July, with a time of 34.38s. Her dad is convinced she has every chance of being talked about again in a few days, and expects a fascinating duel with American Mallory Weggemann.
“Danielle has a good chance of getting another medal, but you can’t predict the flush,” he said. As soon as she wakes up on Tuesday, she will have to devote herself to recovery and to the final adjustments. With her entire career ahead of her, Danielle Dorris does not intend to stop her hunt for the Olympic podiums there.
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