KISU swimmer has mixed experience at Para Games

KISU's Andrew Cooke's earns one top-five finish in swimming at Para Pan Am Games in Toronto

KISU’S ANDREW COOKE swam in seven events during the 2015 Para Pan Am Games in Toronto. Cooke’s best result was a fourth-place finish in the 100-metre breast stroke.

KISU’S ANDREW COOKE swam in seven events during the 2015 Para Pan Am Games in Toronto. Cooke’s best result was a fourth-place finish in the 100-metre breast stroke.

Andrew Cooke enjoyed nearly everything about his Para Pan Am Games experience in Toronto, Aug. 7-15.

The only thing that took away from it a bit is that his performances were impacted by a skin condition caused by an allergic reaction.

“It was hard,” said Cooke of having to deal with the itchiness.

Cooke, a member of KISU, competed in seven events, with his best result being fourth in the 100-metre breaststroke and he reduced time in the 50-m butterfly, in which he placed eighth.

“Not as good as I wanted,” said Cooke of his performances.

Cooke was a substitute on the 4×50-metre freestyle relay team that earned bronze, however he did not receive a medal. He finished sixth in the 50- and 100-m freestyle, seventh in the 50-m backstroke and eight in the 200-m freestyle. He was disqualified from the 200 individual medley.

Competing in his second Para Pan Am Games, Cooke said Toronto’s games were more difficult then when he went to Guadalajara, Mexico in 2011, where he placed fifth in the 100-metre breaststroke, and had two strong results in the 50-m and 200-m freestyle.

“It was hard because they are a bit faster than me,” said Cooke, 24, who has cerebral palsy.

Cooke said his results do affect his chances of making Team Canada for the Para Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, but said it is still a possibility for him to go. Cooke said it will come down to training and getting his skin problem under control.

Among the things that he enjoyed about being in Toronto was the atmosphere.

“The crowd was amazing,” he said. “It gave an energy boost.”

Cooke also liked being in the athletes village, which had a games rooms, and the volunteers, who he said were amazing.

Canada’s swim team won 24 gold medals, 39 silver and 28 bronze, which was good for second overall behind Brazil. As a whole, Canada was second overall in the medal count behind Brazil with 168, 50 of those being gold with 63 silver and 55 bronze.

The swim competitions had 228 athletes from 19 countries.