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Both swimmers were all smiles before flying to Portugal. Not just because they were getting ready to compete in the World Paraswimming Championships, but also because some sort of pressure had eased since the Tokyo Paralympics ended less than a year ago. This lightness is not just due to the fact that the two athletes brought home medals and that most restrictions related to the pandemic have disappeared. This is mainly because they managed to find a balance.
Something that makes them feel good, if we trust their results in Portugal. Aurélie Rivard, who has been on the podium for more than ten years, won gold in the 50m and 100m freestyle. Her friend Nicolas-Guy Turbide also climbed to the top of the podium in the 100m backstroke.
In addition to their performances in the water, the two swimmers also feel they are doing better in various other aspects of their lives. Swimming is their life, but it won’t be their whole life anytime soon.
Rivard, 26, and Turbide, 25, have confirmed that they intend to participate in the Paris Games in 2024. In the meantime, they will also have to start preparing for the aftermath. Which many athletes fear, but which the two acolytes increasingly embrace.
In fact, it will be a matter of becoming competitive in places other than the pool. It is currently happening in school benches and they are doing very well.
The day after my return from Tokyo, I went back to school. It was one of my goals. I want to finish my bachelor’s as soon as possible. Right now, my big goal is there and it’s perfect, because it makes me perform both in the water and on the school benches.
Nicolas-Guy Turbide, business student with a concentration in financial planning at Laval University
” Balance ! ” Launched Rivard live from his hotel room in England.
Your roommate agrees, balance is key. His last semester was also the best of his life in terms of academic results. Turbide’s efforts were noticed, as in May he received a $4,000 grant from the Foundation for Athlete Excellence. “At some point, you realize that if you perform at something, you can’t commit to something else and not giving your 100%, it’s impossible. »
Everyone has their own rhythm
Back to school was not so dazzling for Rivard after returning from Japan, where he won five Paralympic medals.
The Laval University law student took some time for herself to fully absorb what had just happened and think carefully about what was going to happen. She found her rhythm in early January when she felt the need.
The idea is to find a balance outside the pool and not put all my eggs in one basket. At our age, this is what works best.
Aurélie Rivard, law student at Laval University
This period between September 2021 and January 2022 was filled with questions for what is now considered one of the best Paralympic swimmers in history. The last Paralympic cycle was hard and challenging for all athletes. She is happy, afterwards, to see that this break of a few months has not had a negative impact on her relationship with swimming. “I had to take a break from swimming and come back with other goals. »
This return to school has served both athletes enormously. “What fascinated me is that it puts us back on the ground,” Turbide said at the end of the conversation.
“We learn as much as the people sitting next to us in the classroom. We’re not the best in class, so we have to find a way to stand out. It takes me back to when I wanted to be the best at my sport when I was 16-17 years old. It just feels good, it’s refreshing. Some see school as a chore, I see it as a competition. »
A competition that forces these two athletes to excel in many aspects. His success has always been measured by his performance in the pool, but not anymore. Today there’s more. Maybe better.