Maisie Summers-Newton further wrote her name into the record books as she bettered her own world record by some two seconds to take World Series and British gold in Glasgow.
On the opening night of action, plenty of Britain’s biggest names took to the pool at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre, but it was the Northampton swimmer who delivered the moment of the night. Having already swum well in the 100m Freestyle, Summers-Newton took to the blocks for her favoured 200m Individual Medley full of confidence.
From the get go last summer’s European champion looked smooth in the water as she pieced together four great strokes to smash the three minute barrier, ultimately stopping the clock in 2.57.99, which was naturally inside the consideration time for the World Para Swimming Championships, which are to be held in London in September.
Delighted with her efforts, Maisie said:
“It was really good out there tonight - to swim that time was great. Obviously in the heats I wanted to try and get the World’s qualifying time and then in the final just give it everything I’ve got and it worked, so I’m really happy.
“It means a lot to be able to break the world record - it’s not quite sunk in yet. Obviously I did it at Euros last year and I wanted to try and go close to it this meet, but to go two seconds under it is just amazing. I think I’ll be able to take away a lot of confidence from this meet - it’s still only day one but I’m feeling good. Hopefully I’ll be able to go quicker at World’s as that is my main aim now.”
Summers-Newton’s performance saw her amass 1027 points to win the mixed category contest ahead of Italy’s S13 Carlotta Gilli and her teammate Ellie Simmonds, her fellow S6 swimming 3.03.23 to finish just outside the London 2019 consideration time.
For those new to para-swimming, at events such as the World Para Swimming World Series, swimmers will swim in multi-classification races, so swimmers with different impairments go head to head. However in a World Series first which has been implemented to enable athletes in the same class to compete directly, athletes are seeded from slowest to fastest across the pool, so those with similar times are in adjacent lanes. This is different to the more traditional format of working from the centre of the pool to the outside lanes.
The Men’s 100m Freestyle also wowed the crowd, with not one but two swimmers scoring in excess of 1000 points. New to para-swimming, Great Britain’s Reece Dunn was the fastest man on the night as he stopped the clock in a world leading time of 51.92, to secure 1094 points. Currently an S14, Dunn will have his classification confirmed in the next 24 hours.
Afterwards Dunn said:
“I’m feeling good! This week it’s been nice to have all the British team together and getting to meet everyone and the coaches. This is only my second ever para meet but if my classification goes through I’d love to make the team for London, as I’ve waited my whole career for something like that.
“I’m looking forward to the 200 Free and 100 Fly tomorrow now – I’ve not PB’d in the 100 Fly for over three years so I’m hoping to at least go near that - the 100 Fly is my number one event so I’ll just try my best.”
The other stand out performance came in the first of the three finals, as Takayuki Suzuki, the Japanese S4 swimmer, set a stunning world record with 1.21.71 swim, good for 1025 points. Already with a Paralympic title to his name, Suzuki, who studies at Northumbria University, will be hoping for further glory in his home Paralympics next summer.
Back in action just 15 minutes later, Suzuki doubled his gold medal tally in the Men’s MC 150m Individual Medley with another strong swim. Afterwards he commented:
“It’s been a really tough day, but I’ve had a good start to the competition! I broke the world record so I’m really, really happy about that. I’ve already had a lot of messages from my friends who’re watching on the livestream.
“The 100m Free is the best race for me, but I’m already thinking about the 200m Free. I’ve got five races in four days and today is the toughest day. I’m glad I’ve survived! I’ve qualified for the World Championships this year and if I win the gold there I will qualify for Tokyo, so that’s what I’m trying to do.”
Further results in the 100m saw Columbia’s S6 Nelson Crispin swam 1.05.00, which equates to 981 points, whilst GB’s S14 Jordan Catchpole swam 54.01 for 971 points. Perhaps more notably though was Scotland’s Stephen Clegg, who lowered the S12 British record with a fine 54.01 effort.
Great Britain’s Alice Tai stepped up her game when it mattered to win the first gold medal of this Glasgow leg of the World Series, as she got the better of a field that contained no fewer than three world record holders.
Kicking off proceedings in the Women’s MC 100m Freestyle, Tai was in fine form as she powered her way to a 1.04.06 time in the second final, earning her a place in the hot seat. A nervous wait ensued, before Tai found out her score of 981 points was enough for gold, getting the better of international stars Aurelie Rivard, the S10 from Canada and Carlotta Gilli, the S13 from Italy.
“It feels absolutely incredible – I wasn’t expecting to get a gold medal against some of the competition here, as there were so many world record holders present, so to come away with gold and a good swim, I’m happy with that.
“I always look at myself as up and coming still, as I’m surrounded by amazing people to look up to, so I’m still sort of getting it in my head that I’m competing at the same level as them. I’m still coming to terms with it.
“I absolutely love this pool and I love that we’ve been able to have a World Series here. There are so many different countries present and I absolutely love how inclusive it is and how many people have turned up.
“I’m looking forward to the World Championships in London and obviously Tokyo next year. I’m super excited for Worlds, especially given it’s in London and all my teammates are going to come and watch. Hopefully I can swim even better than I’m swimming now – fingers crossed!”
The Women’s MC 150m Individual Medley also gave the Glasgow crowd something to shout about as Ellie Challis smashed the long standing British SM3 record with a 3.28.97 swim. That effort was worth 578 points, ensuring she would take home the silver medal behind only USA’s Leanne Smith.
The final event of the evening was the Men’s MC 200m Individual Medley, where Japan enjoyed further success as S14 Dai Tokairin clinched the World Series gold with a terrific back end to his race, taking the lead on the breaststroke before powering home on the freestyle. He stopped the clock in 2.10.53, which secured him 964 points, 41 points ahead of Rogier Dorsman, the S11 swimmer from the Netherlands. Reece Dunn capped off a fine evening in the pool as he added bronze to the gold medal he won at the start of the night in the 100m Freestyle.
Live results from Glasgow are available on British Swimming’s website here and you can catch all the action on the live stream, which resumes at 9am, via Facebook or the British Swimming YouTube channel.
Tickets are still available at the venue in Glasgow.