Team Ontario swimmer Julie Brousseau has had herself a Games.
The 16-year-old from Ottawa won 11 medals (six gold, one silver, four bronze) this week to match the record for the most medals won at a single Canada Games. Brousseau finished the meet with three medals on Thursday night, including a gold won in the 200-metre individual medley with a Games-record time of two minutes 14.93 seconds.
"It’s definitely cool, because those [past Canada Summer Games] athletes have reached higher meets and gone on to do incredible things,” declared Brousseau upon reflecting on this unique achievement. “It’s kind of cool that we get to be up with their names, because they’re well-known athletes and swimmers.”
In all, she had six individual medals (four gold, two bronze) and five in the relays (two gold, one silver, two bronze). Her 11 medals equaled the record set by Ontario swimmer Hanna Henderson (Mississauga, Ont.) at the 2017 Canada Summer Games.
Brousseau now has to prepare for the 2022 Junior Pan Pacific Championships being held in Hawaii later this month.
“I think it’s just really exciting to race against all these really fast girls and I think it will give me the confidence going to Junior Pan Pacs to hopefully make finals or just keep reaching the next step,” she said after her Wednesday night swims. “I think the times are a bit off what I wanted but it’s definitely more about the placing here, so I think it’s gone pretty well according to plan. I’m pretty happy with it.”
Brousseau’s six gold medals were also matched by Ontario para swimmer Katie Cosgriffe on Thursday night. With six gold medals each, both Brousseau and Cosgriffe matched the record for the most golds won by a female athlete at a single Canada Games. The mark of six was also set in 2017 by Henderson.
“It’s just really exciting because you’ve heard about some of those [Canada Games alumni] throughout, and for me, my whole swimming career,” exclaimed Cosgriffe. “I’ve heard about a bunch of those people, and now my name is kind of with theirs. It’s really exciting.”
Cosgriffe, 16, from Burlington, Ont., also added a silver for a total seven-medal haul.
Team Ontario’s Bailey O’Regan closed the swim competition on Friday morning with a gold in the 3000m open-water event at the Welland International Flatwater Centre. That gave her a fifth gold medal this week.
“I was just really excited to come here and race,” said the Etobicoke native earlier in the week. The 16-year-old ended up with seven medals total. Three golds came in the 400m, 800m, and 1500m freestyle events in the pool with the open-water win capping off her distance dominance.
“I think it’s just doing it for the team,” she said about her experience at the Games. “So it’s kind of different than a normal competition, which I’m really enjoying. The team atmosphere helps trying to go fast because you’re not just letting down yourself. … I think it’s more of a fun pressure.”
Team Alberta’s Maxine Clark won five golds and led her team with eight medals overall (five gold, three bronze). Not bad for a 14-year-old racing against competition mainly two years older.
“I just wanted to try my best and have fun,” she said after winning the 100m butterfly Wednesday night just 90 minutes after placing fourth in the 200m freestyle. “I didn’t really care too much about the outcome. As long as I had fun, I was happy with that. I’ve had a lot of swims so I’m just happy with what I do.”
Clark raised eyebrows just before the Games, setting an age group record in the 100m butterfly at the nationals in Montreal, swimming in a time of 59.86 that bested previous age-group record holder Penny Oleksiak.
Special Olympics swimmer Connor Bissett, 22, from Edmonton, won five individual golds for Alberta in the men’s competition.
In other notable results, Chris Weeks, 17, from Harbour Grace, Nfld., broke a nine-year-old Games record en route to a gold in the 50m butterfly with a time of 24.53 seconds. The previous record was 24.91 seconds set in 2013. He also won two silvers.
B.C.’s Bill Dongfang, 17, a native of Shanghai, China, led the men’s group with five medals (two gold, two silver, one bronze) and teammate Peter Huang, 17, from Coquitlam had four medals (two gold, two silver).
Maya Bezanson, 15, from Mississauga, Ont., had a five-medal meet with three gold, one silver and one bronze.
Teagen Purvis, 19, from Selkirk, Man., led the Special Olympics female competition with four gold and one silver.
Reid Maxwell, 14, from St. Albert, Alta, led the men’s para swimmers with three gold, one silver and one bronze.