He didn’t swim as fast as he wanted to at the Canadian Para Swimming Trials in Victoria in April.
So Coldstream’s Jacob Brayshaw was a little surprised, but excited, when it was announced he was named to the Canadian squad for the World Para Swimming Championships, which run June 12-18 in Madeira, Portugal.
“Competing at the Worlds is really cool,” said Brayshaw, 19, one of the youngest swimmers on the Canadian team who will make his World Championship debut on the event’s opening day, June 12, in the 50-metre breaststroke.
He’s part of a large Canadian contingent in Portugal that features a mix of former Paralympians, and youngsters hoping to land a spot on the 2024 Canadian Paralympics Swim Team that will compete in Paris. Brayshaw competed for Canada at the 2019 Parapan-Am Games in Lima, Peru, finishing with a pair of sixth-place results.
“They’ve (Swimming Canada) chosen a big team looking to pass the torch to younger swimmers like myself,” said Brayshaw, an engineering student at UBCO who swims for Penticton’s KISU club when not training at the Vernon Recreation Complex’s aquatics centre under coach Renate Terpstra. He left for a Team Canada staging camp in England on May 27, then flies into Portugal.
“I’m hoping I can showcase myself, especially in the relays, with an eye on making the team for Paris.”
In Portugal, Brayshaw will swim individually in the 50-breast, then hopes to be selected for a pair of 20-point relay events June 13 and 14.
Brayshaw, who suffers with muscular dystrophy, is classified as an S2 swimmer. The lower the number, the higher the disability. The 20-point relays feature teams of four whose class numbers added up can’t exceed 20 points.
“I’m a 2, so that’s hardly any points,” said Brayshaw who would bring the low points, talent and enthusiasm to a Canadian relay squad. But no experience.
Brayshaw has never competed in a relay before.
“I want to swim PBs (Personal Bests) in my events and if I get to do a relay, which would be really cool, I don’t know what to expect, and I don’t know what our chances would be like.”
One person brimming with confidence is Terpstra, who has been working with Brayshaw for nearly seven years, though she won’t be in Portugal.
“We are a very good team now,” said Terpstra. “Jacob is very coachable. He is swimming great in practice so I am calm and confident he will do well in Portugal.”
The relay events would be Brayshaw’s final races of the Para Worlds. He’ll stay in Portugal until June 20 to do some sight-seeing, some computer programming homework for his summer engineering course, and root on his Canadian teammates.
“I plan to be one of the biggest cheerleaders there after my events,” he said.