Shaw leads British podium sweep

3 Feb 2024

Toni Shaw, Faye Rogers and Brock Whiston produced a 1-2-3 in the Women’s MC 400m Freestyle, with Louise Fiddes later adding a further gold to Britain’s World Series tally in the Women’s MC 200m.

With lanes drawn side by side, Toni Shaw (S9) closely followed the pace set by her University of Aberdeen Performance squad training partner, Faye Rogers (S10), through the opening stages of the Women’s MC 400m Freestyle contest - with Brock Whiston (S8) one lane further outside equalling tracking the trio before each settled into their own rhythm.

Rogers, who was quickest on time overall came close to her personal best to record 823 points and claim the silver behind Shaw - who posted a score of 837 points for gold, while Whiston rounded out the podium on 807 points.

“I’m really happy, obviously to be up there with Faye as well is so nice because we train together every day. It’s not quite the time I was hoping for - I was hoping to go a bit quicker but I’ve got eight weeks until trials so I’ll be looking to find a few seconds as the weeks go on.” said Shaw

Toni Shaw Aberdeen 2024
Toni Shaw stands by the blocks in Aberdeen

“[Myself and Faye] we’re always together in training every day, trying really hard is great. With our teammates everyone shows up and puts in 100 percent every single day, so you’ve got to be on that standard as well which I think really pushes everyone on.”

With the competition being in her home pool, Shaw added on the advantages of home comforts while racing early in the season:

“Definitely having your own bed, you don’t think it’s that big a deal but it’s huge - and I’ve just got a puppy as well so going home between every session to see him gives me a little boost, and Abby my friend is staying with me so obviously it’s the competition but also the social side I’m loving that too this week.”

Rogers was equally happy to be sharing the podium with her teammate. Reflecting on her race, Rogers commented:

“Traditionally I’ve been one to go out a bit slow so this season I’ve been trying to take everything out harder. I need to be going out harder, especially in my 100 fly [tomorrow], I know that, so it’s been a focus.

“I swam faster than I expected, I’m only a tiny bit off my PB from worlds so that’s really good for this point in the season, so I’m happy going into trials with a really good swim. I’m really happy for Toni [Shaw] as well because she’s my teammate and training partner, and it’s so special to share the podium with her.

Whiston’s bronze adds to her opening day silver, and completed the British clean sweep of the podium. The medals were not long round their neck as Shaw and Whiston got back into the pool to race a Canadian quartet in the Mixed 34pts 4x100m Medley relay, with Sam Downie (S8) and Luke Batty (S9) completing the British line-up that placed second.

Over to the Women’s MC 200m Freestyle, Louise Fiddes (S14) and Poppy Maskill (S14) picked up gold and bronze apiece in a competitive all-S14 affair.

2023 world championship bronze medallist, Fiddes, led the charge from the gun under early pressure from Maskill on her shoulder – however a late surge from Japan’s Kinoshita split the pair as they came into the touch.

Kinoshita, Fiddes and Maskill on the podium

Speaking on her gold medal swim, Fiddes said: “I’m pretty happy, I’d of liked to have gone a smidge faster but I mean who doesn’t and I’m happy for where I am in the season. It was good fun to race Poppy and you know she was right there the whole way – I enjoy the thrill of a race!”

“The 100m Breaststroke is definitely still number one in my mind but this is an event I enjoy and it just seems to go quite well so it’s still something I put good time into in training.”

In the respective men’s event William Ellard (S14) and Cameron Vearncombe (S14) provided a third podium with multiple Brits, going second and third on the multi-classification standings.

Progressing well on his morning effort Ellard posted the fastest time in the pool, with Vearncombe also dropping a few seconds from his heats swim as the pair took medals behind S3 swimmer Granjux (FRA).

“My heat this morning wasn’t too good, but I stepped it up in the finals and I’m quite happy with that with where we are in the season and not tapered at all so that’s a good step towards Paralympic trials.” said Ellard,

“I saw Cam come back on the third fifty which pushed me along quite well. Racing is training at the end of the day so I’m happy the job I’ve done tonight.”

Will Ellard 200m Free Aberdeen
Will Ellard

Elsewhere on Saturday night’s schedule Tomas Navarro-Barber (S9) was Great Britain’s best placed finisher in the Men’s MC 400m Freestyle in joint sixth, while Grace Harvey (S6) and Roan Brennan (S10) were Great Britain’s only two finalists across the Women’s and Men’s MC 50m Butterfly World Series finals but placed outside of medal contention.

The final race of the night saw Fern Sneddon (S6), Bruce Dee (SB6), Ellie Challis (S3) and Harvey Phillips (S4) time trial the Mixed 4x50m 20pts Medley Relay in an opportunity to increase their exposure to racing the event.

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

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