Abby Kane

Brits setup exciting Rio 2016 finale

17 Sep 2016

Abby Kane will be one of the swimmers to keep an eye on in tonight’s final session in the pool after equaling the Paralympic record in the women’s 100m backstroke S13.

Kane, who, at 13, is ParalympicsGB’s youngest athlete in Rio, clocked 1:09.09 to equal the record set by Canada’s Chelsey Gotell in 2008.

The Largs swimmer said:  “It felt really slow to be honest. I’m just really happy how it’s turned out.

“It’s very really special to be ParalympicsGB’s youngest competitor, everyone has been looking after me. It’s going to be hard going back to normal life although I’m really looking forward to seeing my family and friends. I’d definitely like to able to go home with a medal.”

There was also a Paralympic record for Jessica-Jane Applegate in the women’s 200m individual medley SM14 heat, before teammate Bethany Firth promptly broke it in the very next heat.

Applegate touched the wall in 2:30.11 to win her heat before Firth, who is chasing her fourth medal in Rio after two golds and a silver, bettered it with 2:23.78.

Applegate, who has also won silver and bronze in Rio, said:  “I swum the best I could have done this morning, I’ll just see what I’ve got left in the tank tonight.

“Individual medley has never been my strongest position but me and Bethany are always changing positions with each other. It’s the Paralympic Games so we’ll see what happens.”

Hannah Russell was another swimmer to top the timing sheets in the heats of the women’s 50m freestyle S12 as she clocked 27.79 seconds.

Russell, who has already won 100m backstroke S12 gold and 100m freestyle S13 bronze in Rio, said: “I wanted to go in there and do a solid swim, I went out fast, I just wanted to make sure I had a good finish. Going into tonight hopefully I can find some more energy.

“It’s been an up and down Games, I started with the 100m backstroke which I was delighted with to get the world record. Yesterday’s swim (100m freestyle) might not have gone my way, things happen and you’ve just got to get on with it.

"I’ve got the 50m free final tonight and I’ve just got to keep my head down for that. Anything can happen, I just want to go there and make sure I get myself a personal best.”

Ollie Hynd remains on track to defend his 200m individual medley SM8 title after qualifying fastest for the final.

The reigning Paralympic, World and European champion clocked a time of 2:25.48.

Hynd, who has already won 400m freestyle S8 gold and 100m backstroke S8 silver in Rio, said: “I knew that I needed to swim a decent time. It felt really easy though so hopefully I’ll go even faster tonight. I came here to do fast times and to win gold medals and I think that’s what it’s going to need tonight. I’m excited for it.

"It’s a big confidence boost having good swims previously in the week. Tonight is going to be a really close race. It is a little bit sad that it is nearly all over but I’ve got probably my main event so I’ve got to keep focusing until the end.”

Stephanie Millward won her 200m individual medley SM8 heat to progress into the final second fastest overall.

Four-time Rio medallist Millward touched the wall second behind Jessica Long in 2:45.91.

There was also a strong showing from the two Ellies – Simmonds and Robinson – as they qualified third and fourth fastest respectively in the 100m freestyle S6.

Robinson was in action first, winning her heat in 1:16.76 before Simmonds came home second in her heat, albeit in a quicker time of 1:16.39. Ukraine's Yelyzaveta Mereshko is the one to beat having set a new Paralympic record of 1:12.49.

Simmonds said: “I’m going to go out there and enjoy it the best I can. It was a good heat swim and I really enjoyed it. Its an advantage to see what the heats before had done to see what time I had to go but I’m happy with my time.

"It’s going to be really tough tonight but I’m excited to do my last swim at the Rio Paralympic Games. It would be great to go out on a high with a medal but I’m just going to do the best I can and try and swim a personal best.

"Anything is a bonus but I’ve come away with a gold medal. I’ve done three Paralympic Games and I’ve got a gold medal in each, so I’m just going to go out there, have fun and enjoy."

Thomas Hamer won his men’s 200m individual medley SM14 to qualify third fastest overall in 2:16.28 behind Dutch swimmer Marc Evers who set a new Paralympic record of 2:12.07.

Andrew Mullen also made it into the 100m freestyle S5 with his time of 1:19.58 putting him through as sixth fastest overall while Stephen Clegg was 12th fastest overall in the 50m freestyle in 25.78, as he missed out on the final.