London 2019 World Para Swimming Allianz Championships
The world’s best para-swimmers descended on the London Aquatics Centre for the start of the seven day meet from 9 to 15 September 2019.
Click on the respective panel to view reports (to be updated)
There was a clean seep for Brits in the Men's S14 200m Freestyle event. World Record Holder, Reece Dunn won gold, Tom Hamer silver and Jordan Catchpole bronze.
Catchpole had set a new PB of 1:57.35 in the heats to lead the British charge and said of that performance: “I’m really happy with that, it was a good . I wentin there just to make the final and to come away with a PB is amazing.”
Hamer said: “Everything has been great so far in London, its home territory, home turf. There are some great memories of this pool from London 2012 and our Coach said that the pool hasn’t been emptied so there’s still water here from 2012 and that’s pretty cool. It is also great to have the young kids from the schools come in and visit us and hopefully we’ll inspire them.”
Alice Tai continued her lightning form in 2019 by picking up gold in her first event of the week, the Women's S8 100m Freestyle.
Alice Tai had looked dominant in the heats of the Women's S8 100m Freestyle, taking the touch in 1:08.67. The World Record holder and European Champion for the event had won her heat comfortably and was happy with her performance, saying:
“It’s nice to get the first race done and dusted at the Worlds. I reckon I’ve got a little bit more in there. I think I’m going into final in 2nd spot, so it will be nice to try and upgrade that 2nd place to first. Jess Long of the US is a legend and is fastest into the final. I’ll just see how it goes in front of a home crowd.”
World Championships debutante Megan Richter was also in action but just missed out on a place in the final.
Ellie Simmonds claimed bronze in the Women's S6 400m Freestyle final with Maisie Summers-Newton close behind in 4th as China's Y. Jiang set a new World Record.
Simmonds and Summers-Newton were the first British swimmers in action in the morning heats, both easing into the final. Reigning world record holder Yelyzaveta Mereshko (UKR) set out her stall early with the fastest qualifying time of 5:23.52 while London-based Simmonds finished 3rd overall in 5:26.23. The eight-time Paralympic medallist said of her performance:
“That was a nice heat swim to feel it through and soak inthe atmosphere; it felt good and I really enjoyed it. I’ll get a good swim down now, head back for some lunch, some rest and get ready for tonight.”
Making her World Championships debut Maisie Summers-Newton said of her 5th place finish: “I was quite nervous but it felt alright. I’m excited to race in front of a home crowd. There’s so much noise and it gives us a real sense of adrenalin.”
There was a World Championships debut bronze in another pb for Toni Shaw (1:03.00) and an 8th place finish for Stephanie Millward (Team Bath AS, 1:05.80) in the Women's S9 100m Freestyle.
Shaw had won her heat with a 1:03.24 pb. And while the 16 year old from Aberdeen was delighted by her performance she knew things would be tougher in the final. She said: It’s not my main event but it was my first one so I just wanted to go in there and go as fast as I could and hopefully go quicker tonight.”
The New Zealanad squad prepared for the Championships in Bath and race favourite Sophie Pascoe won gold in 1:00.20.
Alice Tai continued her medal charge on night two of the London 2019 World Para Swimming Allianz Championships, with a masterclass in backstroking. Breaking her own World Record, Tai secured her second gold of the meet with another dominant performance in the Women’s S8 100m Backstroke final. Victory never looked in doubt as 20-year old Tai pulled further and further away from the rest of the field. She powered home to take the championship crown in a time of 1:08.04, with Tupou Neiufi (NZL) winning silver in 1:16.37, while her GBR teammate, Megan Richter, came home to win bronze in 1:17.95.
A delighted Tai said of her performance: “I actually looked at my time when I turned. It’s a bad habit of mine and I thought oh gosh I’m going to really have to push it here to get this world record. I really wasn’t expecting it and I’m quite emotional.”
Speaking about teammate Megan Richter’s bronze medal, Tai continued: “I’m honestly so, so happy for Megan. I know she’s had a really good year’s training and I love the fact I can share the podium with her.”
Despite winning bronze, the race itself had been stressful for Richter. She said: “I ripped my race suit just before the start so I was worrying about that the whole time. The first 50 was good, but I hit the lane rope on the way back which wasn’t great. I was hoping for a low 1:17 but I’m happy with that and it makes all the hard work worthwhile.”
Tully Kearney kickstarted the British celebrations at the start of the evening by winning her second gold of the meet in the Women’s S5 200m Freestyle. Kearney dominated the race from the start and powered her way down each of the four 50 metres, touching in 2:46.92, a new Championship Record. Arianna Talamona (ITA) won silver in 2:51.43 and Monica Boggioni (ITA) took home the bronze in 2:57.96. Britain’s Suzanna Hext pulled out of the final on medical grounds, but hopes to be back racing at the weekend.
Kearney said of her race: “I knew that going out from the start looked a winner. I knew I had to go out quick and stay ahead so that’s what I tried to do. I died off a bit but I think that’s to be expected as I’ve had a pretty tough season. It’s just under a year since I had surgery; I’ve had multiple injuries and even five weeks ago I was in hospital not thinking I’d be able to compete. For me to come here and have the fitness to be that close to my PB, I’m so pleased.”
Bethany Firth went one better than the silver she won last night, with gold in the Women’s S14 100m Backstroke. The athlete who trains under the guidance of Nelson Lindsay and who is Paralympic champion in the event, took the title in a new Championship Record time of 1:05.97. Valeriia Shabalina (RUS) won silver in 1:07.23 ahead of Firth’s GBR teammate, Jessica-Jane Applegate, who won her second bronze of the meet in 1:08.33.
Firth said of her performance: “I’m so happy, the crowd have been amazing. I’m coming back from injury and I was just trying to retain that title and that’s what I’ve done.”
Applegate also spoke of the race, and said: “I’m a little disappointed. If I’d gone season’s best I may have got a silver. But that’s me just being hard on myself as it’s not really my event.”
Stephen Clegg broke the British Record again on his way to a silver medal in the Men’s S12 100m Butterfly final. Clegg turned first at the 50m mark and was shoulder to shoulder with Dzmitry Salei (BLR) in the final 15m. It was the athlete from Belarus who took the touch in 57.28, with Clegg winning silver in 57.36. Yaroslav Denysenko (UKR) picked up bronze in 57.70.
Despite being so close to gold, Clegg was far from disappointed and said: "I’m really happy with that result. I've progressed again and that's all you can ask for. I've learned a lot from the last twelve months and I can take all of this to Tokyo. I'm thrilled, and the crowd, wow! I had goosebumps today."
Jordan Catchpole and Louis Lawlor were both delighted at securing medals in the Men’s S14 100m Backstroke. World Record holder for the event, Viacheslav Emeliantsev of Russia took gold in 59.62, with Catchpole and Lawlor powering home to take silver and bronze respectively, Catchpole in 1:00.86 and Lawlor in 1:01.47. GBR teammate, Rhys Davies, finished eighth in 1:03.04.
Catchpole said of his second place finish: “I wanted more. I’m going to go back home and train ten times harder and come again next year and see what happens.”
Lawlor was delighted with his performance and said: "That was a huge surprise, I didn't expect that at all. It’s a dream come true. One race, one final, one bronze! I've loved every minute here and this will give me a platform to move forward."
Maisie Summers-Newton and Ellie Robinson both contested the Women’s S6 100m Freestyle final, which saw Yuyan Jiang (CHN) collect her second gold medal of the meet to add to the S6 400m Freestyle one she secured on the opening night. Jiang came home in 1:11.53, with World Record holder for the event, Yelyzaveta Mereshko (UKR), winning silver in 1:11.85. Summers-Newton secured the bronze in a time of 1:13.87, just edging out Robinson who touched in 1:14.14.
Summers-Newton said of her race: “I just tried to stay relaxed and I felt positive before the race. It’s an event where I don’t have that much pressure on me and maybe that helped. It’s also an event I never thought I’d medal in and it puts me on a high for the IM tomorrow. I’m really happy.”
Stephanie Millward finished fourth in the S9 100m Backstroke final, posting a second PB of the day with a time of 1:13.55.
Mikey Jones was close to his season’s best in the final of the S7 400m Freestyle, finishing eighth in 4:49.74.
Maisie Summers-Newton raised the roof with her World Record breaking performance in the Women’s SM6 200m Individual Medley final. The 17 year old, coached by Jacquie Marshall at Northampton, timed her charge on the breaststroke leg, moving up the field from fourth into first. With the crowd cheering her home on every stroke, there was no stopping her as she powered down the final 50m to take the touch in 2:57.25, shaving over 0.7 off her existing record.
Yelyzaveta Mereshko (UKR) won the silver medal in 3:00.83, while the silver medallist from the Rio Paralympic Games, Lingling Song (CHN) took the bronze in 3:03.01. Britain’s Ellie Simmonds came home in fourth, matching her season’s best time of 3:03.23.
A thrilled Summers-Newton said of her performance: “I wanted to go out and do the best I could. I wanted that gold medal, and to get the world record as well is amazing. I am so happy with the race. I turned in fourth place at the half way mark and I just thought I need to max out this last 50 and try to touch the wall first.”
Louise Fiddes timed her Women’s SB14 100m Breaststroke final to perfection, securing the gold medal in another new Championship Record of 1:13.20. Turning in second place behind the World Record holder and gold medallist from Rio, Michelle Alonso Morales (ESP), Fiddes changed up a gear and powered down the second 50m. Shoulder to shoulder with only 10m to go, it was Fiddes who finished the stronger of the two to take the World Championship crown. Morales won silver in 1:13.49 with Debora Carneiro (BRA) winning bronze in 1:17.52.
Talking about her race, Fiddes said: “It’s not quite how I expected the race to go. I took it out a bit too easy on the first 50 but at least I had it in the tank at the end. Being an S14 athlete I’ve struggled a bit with pacing in the past. I find it hard to judge how much I have left in the tank. I’m absolutely ecstatic.”
Alice Tai secured her hat-trick of gold medals from the event following a hard fought Women’s S8 100m Butterfly final. Tai, who won gold in the event at last year’s European Championships in Dublin, was pushed all the way by Jess Long (USA). The finish could not have been tighter and Tai took the touch in 1:09.76 to claim her third title. Long finished just 0.02 behind in 1:09.78 with Viktoriia Ishchiulova (RUS) taking the bronze in 1:13.00.
Tai said of her race:
"The back end of my fly is always super painful. The goal this morning was to cruise the heat, but it got to the last 15 and I probably died just as much as I did there. That finish was very lucky for me. I could see Jess on the second 50 and I know she’s super strong on the back end of the race. I saw her glide into the finish and I added a stroke and I was freaking out as I thought she was going to touch first. I’m a bit stunned I managed to get that one.”
It took a World Record breaking performance to push Scott Quin into silver and Naohide Yamaguchi (JPN) did just that in the Men’s SB14 100m Breaststroke. Yamaguchi showed his intent from the start and had a healthy lead at the half way point. Quin narrowed the gap considerably but Yamaguchi had done enough to take the title, breaking Quin’s record with a new World’s best time of 1:04.95.
Quin won silver in 1:05.46 while Marc Evers (NED) took the bronze in 1:07.03.
Quin said of his race: “I would have liked to have executed things a bit better. I came into the final a bit more relaxed than the heat and it’s the fourth time this season I’ve gone 65 for the event.”
Speaking about Yamaguchi taking his World Record, Quin said:
“Sometimes you have to accept someone goes quicker than you, and it’s good to see the youngsters coming through and making improvements and you have to applaud that.”
Toni Shaw may have predicted Sophie Pascoe’s (NZL) dominance ahead of the Women’s S9 Butterfly final, but she certainly wasn’t expecting to come away with the silver medal and enjoy her second trip to the podium. Pascoe’s victory never looked in doubt with the World Record holder for the event touching home in 1:04.35, a new Championship Record. Shaw didn’t let Pascoe’s pace affect her own race and the 16-year old held her nerve to power home to take the silver medal in a new British Record time of 1:07.83. Elizabeth Smith (USA) won bronze in 1:08.12.
Shaw said of her performance: "My first 50 was definitely a lot quicker. I could feel myself dying in the last 15 metres but I just told myself to just keep going as it was almost done. I'm so happy, it's really special seeing all my family looking on; they've done so much for me with all the early mornings and all the travel to the competitions far away. This is the biggest achievement of my life so far, I can't really believe it.”
Zara Mullooly ensured that her 17th birthday would be one to remember, winning bronze in the Women’s S10 400m Freestyle. Having smashed through her personal best in the morning heats, Mullooly went faster again in the final to win her second World Championships medal in a time of 4:34.91.
Gold went to Oliwia Jablonska (POL) in a new Championship Record time of 4:29.66 with Aurelie Rivard, the gold medallist from the Rio 2016 Games, winning silver in 4:30.42.
Mullooly struggled to find the words to sum up her day. She said: “I’m speechless. The 400 coming into this competition wasn’t really my focus at all. I kind of stopped doing distance so to come and get a bronze in the 400m free is incredible. This morning was really positive. I know I usually progress from heat to final, so knowing there was a possibility to go even quicker tonight was amazing, but I wasn’t expecting a whole three seconds. I shut my eyes on the back 50 and just went for it.”
Stephen Clegg broke the British Record for Men’s S12 50m Freestyle lowering his best to 24.78 to finish fifth
Ellie Challis showed good progress from heat to final, finishing strongly in her Women’s SM4 150m Individual Medley to come home in eighth place in a time of 3:33.46.
She said of her performance: “The final went better than the heat this morning, but there’s still a lot of room for improvement and lots to take back to training.”
Alice Tai continued her 100% record, securing her fourth gold medal in as many events, with Great Britain adding three golds and a bronze to their medal tally on day four. Tai swam the race of her life to claim her fourth individual crown of the Championships, with gold in the Women’s S8 400m Freestyle. Following the morning heat, Tai said her race plan would be to stay on the shoulder of Jess Long (USA), who has not been beaten in the event for over a decade, then race it out with a sprint finish to decide the medal order. This she did, timing her charge to perfection as she took the lead with 100m to go.
Tai, who cites her love of racing, was not going to be stopped from there on in, powering home to the delight of the crowd in a time of 4:49.01. Xenia Francesca Palazzo (ITA) came through strongly for silver in 4:51.21, while Long was pushed into the bronze medal position, finishing in a time of 4:51.45.
Tai said of her performance: “I was so nervous before that race as Jessica had posted such a good time in the heats. My PB for the event is 4:47 and I’ve not gone close to that since 2014, so I knew I needed to pull it out the bag. My purpose was just to race hard but at one point I got scared as she was quite far ahead. I also know what her splits are like and I know her back end is really strong and I was honestly scared that after I overtook her she’d come straight back at me in the last length. I really did have to dig in, close my eyes and get every ounce of energy out of me. I honestly didn’t expect to win that.” Tai, who is better known for her sprinting, said of her success at distance events: “I definitely prefer sprints - 400s are a lot more tiring for me and I struggle with them. My coach has been working a lot more in training on trying to improve my aerobic base for them. We knew there would be a medal opportunity here - I’m glad he saw that opportunity and it’s paid off.”
Rebecca Redfern may have had to wait until day four of the competition to compete, but she made sure she was going to enjoy her moment of glory by storming to victory in the Women’s SB13 100m Breaststroke final. Redfern had predicted that the gold medal would come from her or Colleen Young (USA), and with 20m to go it could have gone either way. Redfern however shifted up a gear, pulling away to take the gold medal in a new Championship Record time of 1:14.73. Young secured silver in 1:16.14, while Ayano Tsujiuci (JPN) landed bronze in 1:19.85.
Afterwards a delighted Redfern struggled for words, saying: “How amazing is that. I have no words! To be up there with the likes of Maisie (Newton-Summers) who has won gold already and to be classed as one of the World Champions is incredible.” Asked about race preparations before these Championships, Redfern continued: “I’ve been working a lot on stroke rates so I had that 1-2-3-4 in my head the whole way and just kept that stroke rate. I think that helped me bring it back in the last 50. I’ve not been in a big race since Rio so to be able to do it in front of a home crowd is amazing. I knew that my mum was in the crowd and I wanted to make everyone proud.”
Ellie Challis could not hide her surprise and delight as she won the bronze medal in the Women’s S3 50m Backstroke, coming home in a new British Record time of 58.91. Edenia Garcia (BRA) won gold in 56.71 while the silver medal was won by Leanne Smith (USA) in a time of 58.42.
15 year old Challis, the youngest member of the Great Britain team in London, said: “I’m really shocked - I don’t know what just happened. That was my second time under the minute, which was my goal this year. I did it this morning and I did it now.” Speaking about how she felt before the race Challis said: “I felt quite cool about it. There’s no point getting worried about it, I just wanted to focus on my race. I went out there to get a time rather than a medal; this tops everything. Going in there being one of the youngest, on my first international competition with Great Britain, there’s no pressure you just race and it felt amazing. I enjoyed the whole thing.”
A quartet of Tom Hamer, Bethany Firth, Jessica Jane Applegate and Reece Dunn provided a fantastic finale to the night, breaking the world record on their way to gold in the S14 Mixed 4x100m Freestyle Relay.
Hamer got the team off to a perfect start, handing over to Firth in first place, who in turn handed over to Applegate. It was anchor man Dunn, however, who blew the opposition apart, making up ground on the team from Russia before powering away to take victory in a new world best time of 3:42.21. Russia took silver (3:45.32), with the team from Australia in the bronze medal position (3:51.60).
Applegate spoke of Dunn’s final leg and said: “I know Reece is an absolute animal and is a chaser. He loves to race. He’s been setting records this week, so we had great confidence in him bringing us home.”
Dunn himself spoke of the third gold medal of the night for Great Britain, and said: “With 15 metres to go I thought I’d love to do a good swim here and pull through for the team. We all went out with a positive attitude and it paid off.”
Zara Mullooly broke her own British Record on her way to a fourth place finish in the S10 100m Freestyle final, touching the wall in 1:01.28. Paralympic Champion and World Record Holder for the event, Aurelie Rivard (CAN), won gold in a new Championship Record time of 59.83 with Chantalle Zijderveld (NED) and Lisa Kruger (NED) winning silver and bronze respectively in 1:00.71 and 1:00.76.
Mullooly said of her performance: “I’m really happy with the time. I’ve been so far off my PB this whole year, so to go under it here, I’m so happy with it. My season’s best before this was 1:02 high so to go 1:01 low, is so much better, I’m really happy.”
Alice Tai once again lit up the London Aquatics Centre as she claimed her fifth and sixth gold medals at the 2019 London World Para Swimming Allianz Championships, the latter in the Women’s 34pts 4x100m Medley Relay.
The final event of the night saw a Great Britain quartet of Tai, Brock Whiston, Toni Shaw and Stephanie Millward bring the house down as they obliterated the World Record to take Britain’s gold medal count to 14 for the meet so far.
Tai swam the lead-off backstroke leg and handed over to Whiston, for whom this was her first race of the Championships, in the lead. Whiston was dominant in the breaststroke leg and passed onto Toni Shaw with a healthy lead, which was only increased further by a brilliant anchor leg from Stephanie Millward to bring home the gold. There was no going go easy down the final 50m though, as she reached for the wall to touch in 4:36.31, knocking almost nine seconds off the previous world record, with a 4.36.31 swim.
Afterwards Brock Whiston said of the experience: “Every day I’ve been there, heats and finals, cheering my teammates on. Then to race with three amazing girls you couldn’t ask for anything more. To swim in front of this many people, I just can’t thank everyone enough.”
Shaw said of her leg: “Being in the relay with these girls makes it much easier. Today has been amazing, so special, it means a lot. When I took over from Brock I just didn’t want to let them down.”
Millward finished and said: “I feel so, so proud. I knew that we were going to be good, I even told people that I’d thought we’d break the world record tonight and to make sure they were here to cheer us on. I didn’t think we’d break it by that much but the team is wonderful and watch out for us in Tokyo.”
Earlier in the evening Alice Tai once again demonstrated why she’s number one in the world with another faultless performance, this time in the S8 50m Freestyle final. Tai powered down the pool to the delight of the capacity crowd to claim her fifth world crown in a new Championship Record time of 29.55. Cecilia Jeronimo de Araujo (BRA) won silver in 30.45 while Claire Supiot (FRA) took the bronze in 30.54.
Afterwards Tai struggled to put it into words: “I don’t really know how I’m feeling right now, I’m equally as tired as I am happy, it’s like I’m dreaming. I think today, after the 400 yesterday, I was really hit with fatigue. I’ve the IM tomorrow, which is probably one of the hardest events for me and I’ll be happy to finish that race!”
When asked about inspiring the next generation, Tai added: “There’s a little girl in the crowd who wished me good luck as I was walking to the venue and she was like, ‘it worked’, so that’s awesome.Not so long ago I was one of those kids looking up to people so to think that I can now motivate and inspire the next generation, and maybe in Paris we’ll see them come through.”
Toni Shaw had earlier predicted it would be a race for the silver and bronze medals in the S9 400m Freestyle final and the 16-year old was spot on. Lakeisha Patterson (AUS) was the runaway winner in the event, coming home to take the World Championship crown in a time of 4:38.29, but behind her, a great race between her teammate, Ellie Cole and Shaw was unfolding. Despite being on opposite sides of the pool, Cole and Shaw were well matched for pace, with Shaw maintaining a slight advantage until 100m to go. From there Shaw went for broke, powering home to secure silver in 4:43.20 while Cole bagged bronze in 4:45.56.
Afterwards it was clear that Shaw had enjoyed the final, as she said: “That was crazy. It was such a great race. Obviously to have the likes of Lakeisha (Patterson), Ellie Cole, Nuria (Marques Soto) in the same race it was just really exciting. I could only see Ellie on a few turns but I was trying not to look too much as I knew that would slow me down. Having someone like Lakeisha there pushes you on to go faster and it motivates you.”
Ellie Robinson and Maisie Summers-Newton just missed out on medals in the S6 50m Freestyle final, with Robinson finishing fourth in 33.94 and Summers-Newton fifth in 35.59. Robinson said of her performance: “I know I’ve a little bit of catching up to do, but I can see some positives from this race and hopefully I can pull something together before Tokyo. The thing about the 50 is that everything has to go right. I’ll look at the race analysis and see the where the margins for improvement can come from.”
Stephen Clegg swam close to his personal best on his way to a seventh place finish in the S12 100m Freestyle final, a very solid swim, of which he said: “I’m pretty happy with the time. I wasn’t thrilled with this morning, it was a bit too slow, so tonight I wanted to take it out harder, which I think I did, and the result was close to my personal best.”
The British team will be back in action on Saturday morning for the penultimate day of the Championships, with Ellie Robinson and Brock Whiston both aiming for individual medals.
Britain’s medal count rose to 39 on the penultimate night, with Brock Whiston on top of the world following a record breaking individual medley performance.
Whiston made up a ten second deficit at the halfway stage, to score a sensational victory in the Women’s S8 200m Individual Medley, in a new World Record time of 2:35.30. True to form, Britain’s Alice Tai took the race out quickly and held a comfortable lead at the 100m mark, but Whiston’s speciality is breaststroke, and the 22-year old powered her way up through the field to turn first and sprint for home. Whiston took the gold medal and world crown, breaking the world record which had belonged to nearest rival, Jess Long (USA) since June 2012.
Long won silver in 2:40.26, with Viktoriia Ishchiulova (RUS) taking the bronze in 2:45.17. Alice Tai found herself in unfamiliar territory, being edged out of the medals and finishing in fourth.
Whiston said of her performance: “It’s Incredible. To race Jess and Alice, they’re two of the best S8s in the world, so to come away with gold against those two is just incredible. The World Record bit hasn’t quite sunk in yet. Jess’ World Record is incredible and to now hold it, I couldn’t ask for anything more from my first individual event at the World Champs.” Speaking about having to wait to day six before her individual events got started, Whiston said: “Waiting for my events is all part of sport and I’ve been able to cheer my teammates on. I wouldn’t be in this position if I didn’t have a team behind me and now they’re up there cheering me. That’s why the GB team is so great.
It took a World Record from Dai Tokairin (JPN) to prevent Reece Dunn from securing his third gold medal of the Championships in the Men’s S14 200m Individual Medley. Dunn started strongly and was leading after the fly and backstroke legs, however the rest of the field closed in after 150m, with a sprint finish determining the medals. Tokairin took the gold in 2:08.16, with Dunn winning the silver medal in a new European Record time of 2:08.70. Vasyl Krainyk (UKR) picked up the bronze medal in 2:10.42.
Despite missing out on the gold, Dunn was pleased with his performance and said “I’m very pleased. OK, a little disappointed that I was pipped for first but I’m happy, especially with getting the new European Record. It’s my weakest event and probably only the second meet in ten years I’ve raced it, the first being in April to secure my qualification. I can go away from here with plenty of things to work on, especially my breaststroke technique for the 200m IM, but overall I’ve enjoyed myself at my first major International meet and in terms of results I couldn’t be more pleased.”
Tom Hamer finished the final in sixth place with another season’s best time of 2:13.62.
Ellie Robinson knew her main rival in the Women’s S6 50m Butterfly final would come from a relative newcomer in the form of Yuyan Jiang (CHN). Despite a strong front end performance from Robinson, Jiang took the lead with around 20m to go and secured the gold medal in a new World Record time of 34.86. Robinson won silver in a new season’s best time of 35.61, while the bronze medal went to Nicole Turner (IRL) in a time of 36.42.
Despite her disappointment on missing out on the gold, Robinson was already looking ahead and said: “I knew it was going to be tough against a new Chinese girl who is doing really, really well. I need to use this as motivation as she’s not too far in front of me and hopefully I can really push myself that bit more in training. This was always going to be close and difficult but I didn’t know she would go a 34. Now I’ve got to make sure I put myself in the best place for Tokyo, so when we stand on the blocks no one knows who is going to win.”
In the Women’s S14 200m Individual Medley Bethany Firth and Louise Fiddes finished with silver and bronze medals respectively. World Record holder for the event, Valeriia Shabalina (RUS), won the gold in 2:18.78, with Firth improving on her heat time to produce a 2:23.04. Fiddes also showed progression, coming home for the bronze medal in a new personal best time of 2:26.05. Their Great Britain teammate Jessica-Jane Applegate was fourth in a new season’s best time of 2:26.91.
Firth said of her race: “I’m so happy with that swim. It was a tough swim and after this morning my injury is starting to come back so I was just really happy to get in and race the final and come away with a silver medal.”
Fiddes was also pleased with her medal and said: “I could see Jess in the corner of my eye and that gave me motivation to get to the wall. It was extremely painful but it makes all the training worth it.”
Toni Shaw picked up her fifth medal of the World Championships, with bronze in the Women’s S9 200m Individual Medley. The 16-year old kicked hard down the final 50m moving up from fifth into third and securing bronze in a time of 2:36.93. Gold went to Nuria Marques Soto (ESP) in 2:34.51 with Sarai Gascon (ESP) taking silver in 2:36.60. Afterwards Shaw spoke of her surprise at winning a medal in the event, saying: "It's crazy. I definitely wasn't going into this meet with the focus of a medal in the Individual Medley so I'm really pleased. It's great my family are here to see it; my parents and my coach have given me great support."
Sunday marks the final day of London 2019, where Great Britain will be looking to top the medal table.
Gold medal winning performances from Reece Dunn, Tully Kearney, Brock Whiston and the Women’s 34pt 4x100m Freestyle Relay team helped secure a second place finish on the medal table for Great Britain at the conclusion of the London 2019 World Para Swimming Allianz Championships.
Reece Dunn scored his third gold medal of the Championships with a world record breaking performance in the S14 100m Butterfly final. Taking the field out from the off, Dunn powered ahead and by the half way point, victory never looked in doubt. Dunn took the crown in 54.46, lowering the previous world record by over a second, before slapping the water in delight.
Lawrence Sapp (USA) won silver in 56.96, while the holder of the previous world record, Dai Tokairin (JPN), won the bronze medal in 58.14.
A delighted Dunn said of his performance: >“I’ve waited three and a half years for another 54. To post the fastest time for the event in three and a half years feels great. It’s been a hard few months of training; the most I’ve trained for a long time and the most I’ve been motivated too, so I’m happy. I must say a massive thanks to everyone for coming out and supporting us, it’s been very loud and very awesome, and the crowd have been amazing.”
Brock Whiston was also in world record breaking mode with another dominant performance, this time in the SB9 100m Breaststroke. Whiston, who already has two gold medals to her name from these Championships, stormed to victory in a time of 1:13.83, with Paralympic champion Katarina Roxon (CAN) securing silver in 1:21.96, whilst European Champion, Ellen Keane (IRE) took bronze.
Despite breaking her own world record, Whiston voiced her frustration with the time and said: “I’m a little disappointed with the time, which I know sounds really bad, but you always want to go faster. I went a 1:12 split in the relay so to go a 1:13.8 here is a little bit gutting. I know it’s in me to do; it’s just about finding those areas to improve on. You always want to find that little extra and be the best you can be in your sport. I’ll have a week out the pool then I’ll sit down with my coach and start putting plans together for Tokyo.”
Speaking about the week she’s had at the World Championships, she said: “These are my first major Championships in what I think is the best pool in the world. It’s a home pool with a home crowd and it’s been absolutely amazing. “
Tully Kearney also made it a hat-trick of gold medals with another strong performance in the S5 100 Freestyle final. Kearney finished in another Championship Record time of 1:17.83, with Arianna Talamona (ITA) taking silver in 1:22.49, whilst Kearney’s teammate Suzanna Hext took her second medal of the Championships, a bronze in a time of 1:22.80.
Kearney said of her performance: “I wanted to get a bit closer to that world record but I really I can’t ask for any more. Three out of three isn’t bad at all. This gives me a lot of confidence going forward and I’m hoping to train through the whole of next season and see if I can make Tokyo and see what that might bring.”
Speaking about the capacity crowd who have attended the event, Kearney said: “It’s been such an amazing Championships and it has been better than I could ever have imagined. The crowd have been amazing and helped pull me back in my 200. I was really struggling that last 50 and the noise of the crowd really helped. I want to thank everyone who pulled this event together so quickly. It’s amazing we actually got to compete in a World Championships this year and also for it to be in front of a home crowd.”
Hext added: “I wasn’t feeling my best, so just to get through the race was a miracle. I’m over the moon to come to my first international swimming championships and win two medals. It’s exciting for the future and hopefully I’ll keep improving.”
Speaking about managing both equestrian and swimming, Hext continued: “If my accident has taught me anything it’s to take every opportunity. Equestrian have been very supporting of my swimming and I feel very lucky they’ve worked well together as a team for me.”
Great Britain’s 34pt 4x100m Freestyle Relay team won a hard fought gold in the last race of the championship, a fitting end for the hosts. A quartet of Stephanie Millward, Brock Whiston, Toni Shaw and Alice Tai all swam superbly, with Tai moving up through the field in the final 100m to bring it home. A lengthy wait to confirm results had everyone nervous, but Great Britain were crowned champions in a time of 4:23.86. USA won silver in 4:24.60 with Canada picking up bronze in 4:30.09.
Afterwards Whiston said of the team’s performance: “I’m so happy to be part of this team and to swim with these three girls again is amazing. We proved what we’re made of in the medley relay and to do it again in the freestyle relay is fantastic.”
Alice Tai spoke of her outstanding week and said: “I’m so happy to end the week this way, but now I’m ready to rest!”
Toni Shaw also summed up her week, saying: “It’s been a crazy week - a great experience. To end it with that race and those girls is really special.”
Maisie Summers-Newton and Ellie Simmonds gave the capacity crowd plenty to cheer about early on in the evening, bringing home the silver and bronze medals in the SB6 100m Breaststroke final. Daomin Liu (CHN) smashed through her own world record to take the gold in a time of 1:29.87, while Summers-Newton broke the European Record with a time of 1:33.46 for silver. Simmonds improved her personal best time again for the event, taking bronze in 1:38.22.
Summers-Newton commented afterwards: “Wednesday was brilliant and then today I wanted a PB. To get a European Record is great and I’m really happy. The first 50 I tried to keep up with her (Liu), she’s so strong and it’s an amazing result for her. I’m so happy with what I’ve achieved this week.”
Ellie Simmonds was also very happy with her breaststroke performance adding: “I can’t believe it; I’m normally terrible at breaststroke! This is just a fun event for me and I’m so shocked to get two PBs in one day. It will give me huge confidence going forward. When I didn’t get on the podium in the 200 IM I was feeling low afterwards, so to come here tonight and get a medal, I’m so chuffed.”
Jessica-Jane Applegate could not hide her emotions at losing her world record in the S14 100m Butterfly final, as despite swimming hard all the way it was Valeriia Shabalina of Russia who had the edge and took gold in a new world best time of 1:03.68. Applegate won silver in 1:04.26, while the bronze medal went to Yui Lam Chan (HKG) in a time of 1:06.45.
Applegate said of her race: “I messed up my turn. I can’t blame anyone else but myself. I’m absolutely devastated at losing my world record but I’ve only got myself to blame. Between now and Tokyo I’ll definitely be working on those and my race strategy.”
Ellie Challis broke the SB2 100m Breaststroke Championship Record on her way to a fifth place finish in the SB3 Final.
Challis said of her performance: “I’m so pleased to get a PB and to get the Championship Record is amazing. We worked so hard in the warm up today, working on my rhythm which I really struggled with this morning. I wasn’t expecting that much of an improvement after a tiring week in London. The crowd have been amazing here; all my fellow athletes have been amazing as have all the coaches and staff working behind the scenes.”
Earlier in the night Toni Shaw also had a fifth place finish in the S9 50m Freestyle, recording a time of 30.19.
Great Britain’s Team Leader for the event, Chris Furber, said of Great Britain’s overall performance: “Primarily we are very grateful that we even had a World Championships as five months ago we were staring down the barrel of a gun and not having any Worlds in this cycle, so we are eternally grateful for all the stakeholders, UK Sport, British Swimming, LLDC and the City of London for pulling this event together at such short notice.
“From a performance perspective I’m absolutely delighted with the way the team’s performed this week. We’ve very much focused on two things; one was the process of making sure we swam hard in the heats and moved those things on in finals and we’ve achieved the goals we set in that area. The other was very much ensuring we really rehearsed what we wanted to achieve and what we put in place for Tokyo in terms of the staffing model, how we’ve positioned ourselves and the culture we’ve had as a team is exactly what we’ve wanted to practice ahead of Tokyo. I’m delighted we’ve come away from these Championships with great performances and really grown together as a team over the last seven days.”
Great Britain finished with 19 gold, 14 silver and 14 bronze medals.
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