Summers-Newton strikes gold with third successive 200IM world title

2 Aug 2023

A roaring home crowd cheered Maisie Summers-Newton on to a third successive medley world title, while Faye Rogers secured the second bronze of her debut on the international stage.

On the third day of competition at the Manchester 2023 Allianz Para Swimming World Championships, the Manchester Aquatics Centre was treated to an exhibition by Summers-Newton, as she went in the Women's SM6 200m Individual race alongside teammate Grace Harvey.

The world record holder and reigning world and Paralympic champion in the event bided her time – sitting just behind USA’s Ellie Marks who took the race out on the butterfly in lane five before making her move on the backstroke to draw level at the halfway stage.

It was on the breaststroke leg where she made her move, as she so often does – putting five metres of distance between her and her fellow competitors at the final turn, before she powered home to a commanding victory to send the sell-out crowd into raptures of applause.

Maisie Summers-Newton MCR23 gold [GettyImages]
Maisie Summers-Newton

Harvey also went well in the event – staying in and around the podium places throughout the event before touching just a couple of seconds away from the medals in fourth.

“I couldn’t be happier with that right now”, was the opening statement from the 21 year-old on what is her fifth world title.

“For some reason you’d think I’d be less nervous the more and more I race it, but to be honest those nerves don’t go away. I think that shows I want to stay at the top and I want to keep winning medals.

“Sometimes I put a bit too much pressure on myself and in the call room I was panicking - in part that’s because it was a straight final and I didn’t really have that sense of what the other girls were going to do. When I get on the blocks though it just clicks and I do enjoy a good race - I’m always a bit behind in the first part of the race, coming back strong on the breaststroke to then hammer it home and get to that wall first.”

“I think the crowd is a massive boost to be fair, and it means so much having my family up there in the stands tonight. It’s great for para sport as well to be able to show what we can do and the support for all swimmers has been incredible.

Having been pictured on many of the championships posters and billboards, Summers-Newton added:

“Living up to the expectation feels really good. When we came here for training a few days ago it was like ‘whoa my face is up there’ and you can question what happens if I don’t deliver, so to get the gold is a bit of a confidence boost that I’m still at the top, still performing well and training is matching up to how I’m doing in the pool.”

Also taking to the podium on the third day was Faye Rogers – the 20 year-old taking her second medal of the competition so far with bronze in the Women’s S10 400m Freestyle final.

Having secured bronze in the Women’s SM10 200m Individual Medley event the previous day, she looked just as good in this event, never loosening her grip on a top three place through all eight lengths of the pool.

She threatened Oliwia Jablonska of Poland for the silver at times throughout the race – making the most of her drops in pace to almost move level with her at several points.

Coming into the wall, Rogers recorded a solid finish to add to what has already been an extraordinarily successful maiden world championships.

“That one was so unexpected”, explained Rogers once the results were confirmed.

Faye Rogers 400 Free MCR23
Rogers continued her form from earlier in the week

“I’m so excited about it, I’m just on cloud nine. I just wanted to PB, I was just slightly off it this morning and I knew I had more - I wanted to be faster this evening.

“That was the aim. With my freestyle I’ve really worked hard to get the timing right, so I’m just so happy it’s paying off. It’s great to get such a big PB, to find five seconds from heat to final is just huge - I did not expect that.

“Those swims have definitely settled some nerves. Obviously it’s my first world champs and on day one I was so nervous. I’m just excited, I seem to be swimming well and I just can’t wait to see what times I can get in the 100 free and 100 fly.”

Louise Fiddes campaign continued in the Women’s SB14 100m Breaststroke final, with the 200m Freestyle bronze medallist joined by Siena Oxby across the pool in the final.

The pair both built into the race – turning in a lower place than their eventual finishing position. With Fiddes gaining on the middle three lanes who took the race out to finish fourth, while Oxby managed to recover a place following the opening length – recovering her stroke well to take seventh place at her debut world championships.

The pair both made an improvement on their times from this morning’s heats, with just making the final an achievement that Oxby was extremely happy with.

““It’s been really good”, said the youngest member of the British team.

“Learning from some of the more senior athletes [in the British camp] has been really cool. I hadn’t put expectations on myself to make the final so I’m really happy with that and it’s been a good experience.”

Also taking fourth place on night three was two-time medallist from the week Stephen Clegg, with the athlete flirting with the medals on his way to touching just outside the podium places in the Men’s S12 50m Freestyle final.

Coming up level with the leaders at the 15 metre marker, it was clear that he meant business down the length – powering through from the bottom of the pool in-line with a handful of others before getting touched out of the medals by just a couple of tenths of a second.

Despite finishing in what would be a frustrating position for any athlete, Clegg was still in a solemn mood when speaking after the race on how his schedule has panned out so far, with four days still to come.

Stephen Clegg 50 Free MCR23
Stephen Clegg

“I’m pretty happy with that - I went faster at commies last year and I’m always looking to be at my best or faster, but it’s been a tough 24 hours trying to reset after last night's silver and go again with all these back to back races. It’s not my strongest event and one I’m working on for the future so to be down in the 24’s again I’m happy.

“The schedule has been the most challenging aspect of this championships. I’ve got six days racing on the trot so I’m non-stop, and there’s not any time to switch off from that professionally as it’s all about recovery and getting myself ready for the next day. That’s the way it goes if I want to be a multi-medallist in Paris, these are the things you have to practice - coming into these championships that was the aim to practice this and learn from it for next year.”

Opening ceremony flagbearer, Scott Quin, went in the 100m Breaststroke as he took a hearty fifth place in the Men’s SB14 100m Breaststroke final, as he and Cameron Vearncombe took to the pool for what was one of the most exciting races of the night.

The pair lined up in lanes one and two respectively for the first race with British representation of the finals session, and it was Quin who got the better of his compatriot – edging ahead of him down the opening length before extending his lead and gaining on the leaders after a noticeable change in stroke rate as he built towards the finish, with Vearncombe unfortunately being disqualified.

Toni Shaw returned to the pool for her second final of the competition so far, as she improved on her heats placing to stop the clock in fifth place in the Women’s S9 100m Butterfly.

Going well with the leaders down the first length, she only touched half a second behind the leader in seventh with just the return 50 metres to go.

As the athletes in the middle lanes began to pull away, Shaw recovered some places of her own – touching fifth and putting in a solid performance from lane seven.

Oliver Carter went in the Men’s S10 400m Freestyle  – getting his week underway with a fifth place finish following a long battle with a number of athletes down the eight lengths of the pool at around the halfway point of the night.

With lanes four and five taking an early lead; one which they would hold for the rest of the race, Carter sat on the hips of Poland’s Alan Ogorzalek right the way through the first half of the race.

As the Brit began to fall away from the athlete to his side, he still continued to go well down the back half – going stroke for stroke with the athletes in lanes six and seven at the other side of the pool before managing to get himself to the wall in a respectable fifth place.

Rebecca Redfern rounded off the British representation for the night – taking eighth in the final of the Women’s S13 100m Freestyle.

Having taken the Women’s S13 100m Breaststroke title the night before, she had a levelled swim in what is, by her own admission, a lesser favoured event for the 23 year-old. Nonetheless, she lowered her personal best and kept the tempo high as she came into the wall for the finish.


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