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2 Surrey para swimmers nominated to Team Canada for 2024 Paris Paralympics

Sebastian Massabie, Arianna Hunsicker ready for France
Surrey para swimmer Sebastian Massabie has been nominated to Team Canada for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, which take place Aug. 28 to Sept. 8 in France. Another Surrey para swimmer, Arianna Hunsicker, was also nominated to the 2024 Canadian team. (Jy Lawrence photo)

Two Surrey para swimmers have been nominated to Team Canada for this summer’s Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.

Sebastian Massabie, who swims with the South Surrey-based Pacific Sea Wolves club, and Cloverdale’s Arianna Hunsicker were nominated alongside 18 other para swimmers after the Olympic and Paralympic Swimming Trials concluded in Toronto Sunday (May 19).

During the trials, Massabie won the men’s 50 free multiclass final in a Canadian S4 record 38.08, and recorded another national standard later in the evening when he placed second in the 200 free in 3:07.00. The 19-year-old finished the trials with six Canadian records and one S4 world mark, set on opening day in the 50 fly.

“He was six-for-six best times this week… (he set) six Canadian records and one was a world record,” Pacific Sea Wolves coach Jy Lawrence said Monday (May 20) form Toronto.

READ ALSO: Surrey paraswimmer breaks 6 Canadian records at international meet

“I’m very proud of him… I don’t know if it’s fully sunk in yet. He’s definitely someone who deserves it – he has an exceptional work ethic.”

In order to be eligible to compete in the trials, Massabie had to compete at several different levels, including Pan Ams, Worlds and European events, which meant she and the para swimmer had to travel to Indianapolis and then to Portugal to compete – and complete – the required competitions in April.

That didn’t leave them a lot of time to prepare for trials, Lawrence noted, but Massabie, who has cerebral palsy, still swam extremely well.

“He’s worked really really hard for this and it shows. The Paralympic trials has been the biggest meet of his life so far that we’ve prepped for… it could’ve been stressful, but no – he handled the pressure beautifully.”

Hunsicker, 20, was named Swim BC’s Female Provincial Para Swimmer of the Year in 2020, amid COVID-19 challenges, and started swimming competitively in 2017.

READ ALSO: Surrey swimmer aims for Paralympic Games amid COVID-19 challenges at Fleetwood pool

Born with a partial left hand, Hunsicker won five medals at the 2017 Canada Games and a bronze medal at an international meet in Poland in 2018.

She and Massabie will both be making their Paralympic debut at this year’s Paris 2024 Paralympian Games, which take place Aug. 28 to Sept. 8 in Paris, France.

Canada’s Para swimmers are the first athletes to be nominated to the Paris 2024 Canadian Paralympic Team, noted a Canadian Paralympic Committee and Swimming Canada release, with all nominations subject to approval by the Canadian Paralympic Committee.

Canada is expecting to send a team of approximately 140 athletes.

“A huge congratulations to all 20 swimmers nominated to the Canadian Paralympic Team!” said Karolina Wisniewska, co-chef de mission, Paris 2024 Canadian Paralympic Team, in the release.

“This is such an impressive team of athletes with a bursting resumé of Paralympic Games and world championships success, as well as some exciting athletes set to make their Paralympic debuts. We know they are all ready to make their mark in Paris, and can’t wait to be there to cheer them on at the pool.”

Of the 20 athletes nominated, two others are from B.C.: Parksville’s Nicholas Bennett, and Burnaby’s Fernando Lu.

– with files from Tom Zillich

Tricia Weel

About the Author: Tricia Weel

I’ve worked as a journalist in community newspapers from White Rock to Parksville and Qualicum Beach, to Abbotsford and Surrey.
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