By Mary Beth Walker
It may not seem like much time to get anything done, but for Canadian Paralympic swimmer Benoit Huot, 2.21 seconds is just enough time to break a world record and reflect on seven years of dedication and training.
In 2001 at 17, Huot set the former world record for the men’s 200m backstroke in the S10 category at 2 minutes 19.48 seconds. Seven years later, now 24, Huot raised the bar again, setting a new goal for swimmers across the world to strive to surpass. On May 24, at the German Open swimming competition in Berlin he completed the race in just 2 minutes 17.27 seconds – 2.21 seconds faster than his previous record.
Huot went into the race with his mind set on achieving a personal best time and to thereby break his world record. Needless to say, he was happy with his performance and the fact that he can swim faster now than when he was 17.
"It’s an amazing chance and experience to break a world record," said Huot who has broke many records in his swimming career, and currently holds three world records including in the 200m IM and 800m freestyle. "Every time it’s always special and you can never get use to them."
Huot plans to keep up the momentum and to continue to break his own personal best times. He has set the bar high for Beijing.
"I want to go to Beijing and have 100% best times. I am swimming six individual races and I want to (swim) six best times out of those six races," he said. "The only time I had 100% best times in a swim meet, it was when I was 14 years old."
In the last two Summer Paralympic Games combined, Huot has collected eight gold and four silver Paralympic medals.
He is looking forward to having the opportunity to, once again, swim against the best swimmers in the world.
"I am really lucky and fortunate to be able to represent my country and do well for it. That’s a lot of fun!"
Leading up to Beijing, the Canadian Paralympic swim team will compete in the Can-Am Games in Victoria this July.
Canada will be sending a team of their top 21 swimmers with a disability – 15 women and six men – to the Paralympic Games this September.
The Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games run September 6 to 17 in China.