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St. Albert swimmer breaks national record at Bell Canadian Swim Trials

Reid Maxwell eyes Parapan American Games after breaking a national record in Toronto.  
Reid Maxwell competes at the Canadian Swimming Trials on March 29. Scott Grant/ Supplied by Swimming Canada

Reid Maxwell, St. Albert para-swimmer and rising star in the world of Canadian swimming, made a big splash at the 2023 Bell Canadian Swim Trials.

Competing in six events over the past weekend, Maxwell showcased his exceptional abilities in the pool, earning personal bests, a bronze medal, and breaking a national record.

This was a busy meet for Maxwell, with the young talent competing in the 400m free, 100m free, 50m free, 100m back, 100m fly, and 200m individual medley. With a primary focus on shaving seconds off his times, he stood out in a field of exceptionally gifted athletes, earning a bronze medal in the 400m free and breaking the national record in the 100m free for his para-category.

Heading into the trials, Maxwell was more focused on self-improvement than setting specific targets.

"I didn't really have any expectations going into the meet; I was primarily focused on dropping time," he said.

To prepare for the event, Maxwell used taper training, which is a method where athletes taper off the intensity and distance of traning in the weeks before the event,  to hone in on the minutia of his approach. 

Maxwell's remarkable, record-breaking performance in the 100m freestyle, is unsurprisingly the one that he insists he was “most proud of from the event”.

As a transtibial amputee, Maxwell competes in para-swimming events against other para swimmers with different classifications. After each race, standings are calculated based on the swimmer's para category and their time, resulting in a point total.

This weekend was not Maxwell’s first time in the national spotlight. Last year, he delivered an outstanding performance at the Canada Summer Games in Niagara, Ontario. At only 14 years old, he competed in seven events and brought home a total of five medals. He kicked off the competition by securing his first gold medal in the 40-meter para freestyle event, marking the first gold for Team Alberta. 

Then, Maxwell's success continued as he won two more gold medals in the 100-meter para freestyle and the 50-meter freestyle events. He also earned a silver medal in the 100-meter butterfly and a bronze medal in the 100-meter backstroke.

Despite facing physical challenges — being born without a lower right leg and having prune belly syndrome — Maxwell's impressive achievements at the Summer Games highlighted his perseverance, determination, and undeniable talent in the world of para-swimming.

Now, with another successful weekend behind him, Maxwell is looking ahead to his next major goal: representing Canada on the world stage. 

"I'm hoping to make the Parapan American games team that is going to be held in Chile in November of 2023," he shared.

The Parapan American Games are a multi-sport event held every four years for para-athletes from the Americas. They run parallel to the Pan American Games, featuring competitions in various sports adapted for athletes with physical disabilities. This prestigious event showcases exceptional athletic talent, fostering inclusivity and promoting the abilities of para-athletes, while celebrating the spirit of sportsmanship and camaraderie among participating nations.