Neave delivers golden feeling on Friday night in Aberdeen

2 Feb 2024

Megan Neave picked up a first-ever World Series gold in the Women’s MC 100m Backstroke to kick start another medal-filled night for Great Britain in Aberdeen. 

Friday evening at the Aberdeen Sports Village saw another six Para Swimming World Series medals across the programme, headlined by S14 swimmer Megan Neave at the top of the bill in the Women’s MC 100m Backstroke.

Going out fast in the A final, Neave was first to the turn and held strong down the closing 50m to drop over a second in her time from heats to final and deliver a gold medal MC points score of 910 points – a result she was duly delighted with.

“I’m buzzing – literally couldn’t be happier!” said Neave,

“To look up and see that time it feels like all my training has paid off. I have worked really hard since I had a lot of time out the water last year with an illness that set me back, but I thought I’m going to get back in and I’m going to try.”

“Backstroke is my main event here, but I’m entered into the 200m free tomorrow for a bit of racing fun.”

In the respective men’s event Mark Tompsett made an inaugural international competition podium of his own, earning bronze in the multi-classification standings after winning the close battle against fellow British S14 competition.

While still catching his breath after his racing effort, Tompsett commented:

“I feel very good, winning a first world series medal is incredible - the backstroke was my main target event this meet and I’ve put a lot into that race.”

I’m really focused on trying to make the team for Paris, going on from here to put in good performances at London in April.”

Ellie Challis Aberdeen 2024
Ellie Challis

Ellie Challis earned the only British silver of the night with a performance in the Women’s MC 50m Backstroke that the Manchester Performance Centre swimmer feels she can build upon as the season progresses.

“That was pretty decent as I wasn’t happy with this mornings, but again I had an operation like three months ago so it’s not the biggest deal looking where my times are at now.” said Challis as she gave her evaluation of the race.

“I’m looking forward to the 200m Free tomorrow but I’m very much looking forward to Italy and seeing what I can do there after a bit more training time, and then hopefully give myself a bit of confidence heading into trials.”

Further bronzes came in the Breaststroke events courtesy of Laura Pilkington, Becky Redfern and Harry Stewart.

For Pilkington this came in the Women’s MC 50m Breaststroke, as the SB5 swimmer rallied to deliver a race she was pleased with after working on her process following the morning heats.

“I’m really happy with that, I’ve had quite a tough week so I’ve managed to build on this morning, which I was a little disappointed with there. I worked on a few processes and got myself into a good head space to get ready for tonight and was pleased with that time.

“Having World Series meets in the UK is great opportunity for us to race, and it’s lovely to be in Aberdeen which is only a few hours north of my home.”

Becky Redfern Aberdeen 2024
Becky Redfern

Reigning Women’s 100m Breaststroke SB13 World Champion, Becky Redfern meanwhile enjoyed good race in the centre lanes of the World Series under the multi-classification format to earn her bronze.

“I’m chuffed with that, I kind of came into this meet after being a bit poorly so to come out of this event with a couple of really good times and a bronze medal is always a bonus.” she said

“We’ve always been quite close racing with a few of those higher classifications in lanes alongside me there and that it does make for a good race.”

Harry Stewart matched that medal result in the respective Men’s MC 100m Breaststroke contest. The World Series debutant pushed the front end pace to put himself at the spearhead of the race, before digging in down the final few metres of the return length to be rewarded with a podium place.

“Well I’m very happy because it’s my first World Series so it’s a massive achievement for me to actually get up on the podium, and especially racing people like Scott [Quin] who is a legend in S14 swimming.” said Stewart,

“The race felt good – I’m better at my front end speed than my back end, and I’ll work on that throughout the season towards champs and the hopefully Paris but yeah that was a good race.”

“I had to hold on quite a lot towards the back end, but that’s how I race it normally. I could see Scott in the corner of my eye that last five metres and it gave me a boost of adrenaline and that extra little oomph to touch before him.”

Harry Stewart and Archie Hare Aberdeen 2024
Harry Stewart and Archie Hare

In the closing individual event of the night, the Men's MC 50m Backstroke, Richmond Dale’s Archie Hare set an new S11 record British record of 39.16 in the national final – breaking through the previous mark that had stood for 20 years.

The close of the session saw Jordan Catchpole, Louise Fiddes, Poppy Maskill and William Ellard race the clock in the Mixed S14 4x100m Freestyle – with relays a new feature added to the World Series in 2024.

Full start lists and results from Aberdeen can be tracked online at Live streaming of the event is available here.

Tickets for the event are still on sale, and can be purchased the event page.