GB medals galore in Rio

15 Sep 2016

ParalympicsGB swimmers continued to impress in the pool at Rio 2016 with another eight podium finishes including a world-record setting swim from new 100m backstroke S12 champion Hannah Russell.

The 20-year-old was competing in her first final in Rio and duly delivered by lowering her own world record to 1:06.06.

Russell has now completed the full set of Paralympic medals after 400m freestyle S12 silver and 100m butterfly S12 and 100m backstroke S12 bronzes in London.

Ottershaw’s Russell said: “Having the four-year cycle of training behind me, I knew I could execute the race. Coming into this race, I purely focused on myself. I knew I had a fast swim.

“Watching the other swimmers winning medals and getting PBs, it really spurred me on.

“I did that world record a year and a half ago but I haven’t broken it again since. To do that here at a Paralympics and to get gold is the thing every athlete dreamed of.”

The evening’s session also saw two British 1-2 finishes on the podium – first for Michael Jones and Jonathan Fox in the men’s 400m freestyle S7 and then Aaron Moores and Scott Quin in the 100m breaststroke SB14 final.

Paralympic Games debutant Jones, 22, clocked 4:45.78 to take the title ahead of Fox who touched the wall next in 4:49.00.

New Milton’s Jones, who is now based in Manchester, said: “I never imagined this, it was a great race. It was another personal best so it’s phenomenal. I worked hard, moved to Manchester with the support of my parents and I’ve been trying to push on.

“It’s something I didn’t think it was possible. My dad passed away with 58 days to go to Rio so that race was as much for him as me. It’s not been an easy build into the meet because of that. It was hard to take initially but he has supported me for all these years and he would have wanted me to have swum my best.

It also proved to be a fascinating race between Moores and Quin with the former getting the better of his teammate by just three hundredths of a second in 1:06.67.

Trowbridge’s Moores said: “I just went all out and put everything on the last 50m. I had a talk to my coach who said to come back like a train and that’s what I did. I did not give up, I was thinking gold gold gold in my head.

“I can’t believe it, it’s a dream come true. I can’t wait to have the gold medal around my neck.

“Scott and I train so hard, and it shows in the fact we came top two in the world.”

There was also a third medal of Rio 2016 for Bethany Firth who took silver in the women’s 100m breaststroke SB14 final to add to the double gold she has already won in the 200m freestyle S14 and 100m backstroke S14 events.

Susie Rodgers also brought up a hat-trick of podium finishes in Rio with bronze in the women’s 400m freestyle S7 final to add to her 50m freestyle S7 bronze and 50m butterfly S7 gold, which had prompted a reaction of pure surprise on Monday.

She said: "That really took it out of me. I’m a bit calmer than I was on Monday night. That was the best time I’ve done in a long time.

“It’s still not sunk in that I’m a Paralympic gold medallist. I’ve had a lot of people take the mickey out of my shocked face from the other night, I’m trying to be more serious now but I’m really pleased with that swim.”

The first silver of the night went the way of Claire Cashmore who picked up her seventh Paralympic medal with a second-placed finish in the women’s 100m breaststroke SB8 final.

Stephen Clegg, finished fifth in the men’s 100m backstroke S12 final in 1:02.06 with Ukraine’s Sergii Klippert taking gold.

And the men’s 4x100m freestyle 34 points team of Josef Craig, Ollie Hynd, Lewis White and Matt Wylie were just edged off the medal podium after finishing in fourth in 3:51.54. Victory went to Ukraine in a new Paralympic record of 3:48.11.