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New Concordian Tess Routliffe makes waves in Rio

The Paralympic silver-medal swimmer is looking forward to her next challenge ... university
September 19, 2016
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By Meagan Boisse

Tess Routliffe: “I knew making the podium was a possibility. It was just a matter of finding the strength within myself to pull through.” | Photos by Scott Grant, Canadian Paralympic Committee Tess Routliffe: “I knew making the podium was a possibility. It was just a matter of finding the strength within myself to pull through.” | Photos by Scott Grant, Canadian Paralympic Committee


Seventeen-year-old swimmer Tess Routliffe is returning from Rio with an impressive souvenir  — a silver medal from the Paralympic Games.

It’s safe to say the Caledon, Ontario native had a successful Paralympic debut, making it to five individual finals and taking second place in the Women’s 200-metre S7 Individual Medley.

“I knew making the podium was a possibility. It was just a matter of finding the strength within myself to pull through, and I did,” recalls Routliffe of last Tuesday’s winning performance.

“It was such an emotional experience to look into the stands and see all the people who came to watch us compete, to see my family. I’m really proud.”

Routliffe says being a competitive athlete will likely help her in her new role as a university student. Routliffe says being a competitive athlete will likely help her in her new role as a university student.

With this latest achievement, Routliffe adds to her growing medal collection — which features four gold from the 2015 Toronto Parapan American Games.


A new challenge

The young athlete shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. While her Paralympic experience came to an end this weekend, Routliffe is already looking forward to her next challenge — university.

The decorated swimmer is starting her first term at Concordia in January, where she’ll be studying communications and human relations. She hopes her degree will help combine her passions for sport and people.

“Right now it’s a great option for me to keep my doors open. I would like to one day work with people, potentially in sports, and I think studying human relations will help me accomplish that goal,” she says, before noting that she’s also looking forward to improving her French.

Though the demands will be different, Routliffe says she’s eager to tackle academia with the same vim that drives her success in the pool.

“I’m really looking forward to the change of pace. It’s going to be a new place and new start for me,” says Routliffe, who will continue to train at the Olympic Park Sports Centre throughout her schooling.

From athlete to student

Routliffe says she expects her experience as a competitive athlete will help her succeed at university. The training and intense dedication that has propelled her swimming career will come in handy when it comes time to hit the books.

“It taught me to be organized, because if you're not organized you’re not going to get through it. Balancing high school and athletics has given me a great deal in terms of time management and discipline.”

Asked if she has any advice for her fellow first years looking to balance their studies with competitive sports, Routliffe says the trick is to keep an open mind.

“When I started out I tried everything possible, even sports not made for short people,” she laughs. “I tried different things until I found something that fit with me, because you have to love what you do.”

Life as a first-year university student at Concordia promises to be demanding, but the tenacious Routliffe says she will not be taking any time away from the pool.

“I’m already looking forward to Japan 2020!”


Find out more about Concordia’s Human Relations and Communication Studies undergraduate program.

 



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