Born in England, live in Australia … so have never thought I would be considered ‘Canadian’.
However, I found myself part of the wonderful Canadian paralympic swim team last week … in the role of team photographer … at the 2018 Pan Pacific Para Games over five days in Cairns. I was presented … and wore … the tee shirt emblazoned with a large red maple leaf to prove it.
The Canadian team is full of charming characters and great competitors and it was a delight to watch and photograph their combined efforts against teams from the United States, Japan, India, Brazil, Costa Rica, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia. The Canadians collected forty medals, twenty four personal best times … and one World record to Aurelie Rivard in the 400 metre freestyle S10 … over the championships.
It was an uplifting, sobering and emotional few days … and brilliant to be involved with so many true athletes and watch the wonderful camaraderie between nations and competitors.
Arguably, however, the most emotionally charged images I made were quick grabs … whilst the Canadians were not swimming … of Japanese swimmers Tomotaro Nakamura and Takayuki Suzuki.
I had just finished photographing Aurelie Rivard win another medal when I noticed Nakamura mount the starting block for his 50 metre freestyle final … and look skyward as if to steel himself as the light bathed him. Just made a couple of frames before the moment was over. The image of Suzuki was made at the moment he lost contact with his starting block during his heat swim.
Below, © Brian Cassey, are the images of Nakamura (top), Suzuki (middle) … and Canadian Aurelie Rivard during her World record swim (bottom).