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'We're here to inspire them': Hundreds line up in Moncton to meet Olympians


Hundreds of young swimmers waited in line Saturday in Moncton, N.B., to meet Olympians past, present and future.

New Brunswick swimmers Marianne Limpert, Danielle Dorris and Brooklyn Douthwright were at Université de Moncton for an autograph session during a swim meet.

Dorris qualified for her third Paralympics during during trials in Toronto last weekend.

At the same trials, Douthwright qualified for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

She's the first swimmer from New Brunswick to be heading to the Olympics since Limpert competed at the Sydney Games in 2000.

Limpert won a silver medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta and the Fredericton woman competed in a total of three Olympics.

"It's so fun, it's so much fun," said Limpert about the huge turnout. "I'm just so happy to be here with Brooklyn and Danielle, two amazing athletes. They're kind of the current generation of great swimmers. I'd like to think I inspired a lot of young swimmers coming up and I think this is great to see so many swimmers here today that are being inspired by Brooklyn and Danielle."

Hundreds of young swimmers in Moncton waited in line Saturday to meet Olympians Marianne Limpert, Danielle Dorris and Brooklyn Douthwright. (Derek Haggett/CTV News)Douthwright, from Riverview, N.B., had Limpert sign a stuffed animal for her at a similar event when she was nine.

Now 21, she remembered meeting Limpert that day and being greatly inspired by her.

"I did think about that and I really hope somebody else is in my position in the next ten or however many years looking back on this day and saying, 'Oh yeah, I got her to sign my t-shirt or whatever’. I hope that's something that does happen," said Douthwright.

This will be the third Paralympics for Dorris who said these games feel a little bit more special to her.

"The first time I was 13, so I don't remember any of it. I was new, I was just experiencing it. And then in Tokyo it was during COVID-19, so there was no fans. It was just us swimmers cheering each other on," said Dorris. "Now this time in Paris, it's going to be the full experience."

The 21-year-old from Moncton was thrilled with the huge gathering of young swimmers who came for an autograph, a quick chat and a photo.

"We're here to inspire them and I think it's very special that we had this great turnout and I'm excited to sit here for the duration of my afternoon," said Dorris.

Douthwright was a bit surprised by the amount of kids and parents who wanted to meet them.

"I'm also super happy to be here and signing stuff and getting to meet all of the next generation of swim New Brunswick. It's a great experience. For me and hopefully for them too," said Douthwright.

Meeting three Olympians was a thrill for 12-year-old swimmer Océane Arsenault.

“It was awesome. It feels like maybe everyone has a chance. It’s really cool,” she said.

As for advice for the two young women heading to the Olympics, Limpert said they should just take it all in.

"It's a dream come true. You work so hard for it. Obviously you want to concentrate on your performances, but you also want to enjoy the experience," said Limpert. "It's a big deal. It only comes around every four years so I think just to enjoy it, take it all in and if you're having fun then you're going to swim fast."

The Paris 2024 Olympic Games begin on July 26, while the Paralympics in Paris start on Aug. 28.

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page. Top Stories

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