British Para-Swimming International Meet 2021
Thursday 8 April to Sunday 11 April 2020 - Ponds Forge, Sheffield
The annual event doubled up as the opening leg of this year's World Para Swimming World Series and the Paralympic trials for those British athletes hoping to book their place on the flight to Tokyo in the summer. National titles will also be up for grabs for the Brits, meaning there was plenty on the line in every race across the four days.
More than 20 different nations were represented among an action-packed schedule, as athletes such as Stephanie Millward looked to lay down a marker after a year of unprecedented disruption.
British Para-Swimming Head Coach Rob Aubry said: “It is not easy to run an event under COVID restrictions, but the confidence the two recent Manchester meets has given us means we are really looking forward to racing and getting the best performances out of our athletes under these protocols. We also recognise the challenge faced by those athletes who are unable to compete here this week due to restricted training and access to pools over the past years, and we are looking forward to the time when all are able to be back training and racing without restriction.”
Click on a day panel heading below to view live streams and summary reports from the Heats (9.30am) /Finals (5pm) sessions of the Para-Swimming World Series event or to close the panel.
W 100m Freestyle; M 100m Freestyle; W 200m IM; M 200m IM; M 150m IM
The first finals session of the British Para-Swimming International Meet delivered some fantastic swims across the board, with multiple swimmers surpassing the qualifying standards needed for this summer’s Paralympic Games.
With some of the world’s elite para-swimmers on display, it was Hoddesdon’s Grace Harvey who stole the show as she came out on top of a stacked field in the Women’s 200m Individual Medley. Harvey won the battle of the SM6 swimmers, finishing with a whopping 938 points and a time of 3:01.01. Just behind her was current world record holder in the event, Maisie Summers-Newton, who racked up 933 points with her mark of 3:01.36. That race also saw para-swimming veteran Ellie Simmonds achieving the qualifying mark (3:05.56) for what will be her fourth Paralympic Games this summer in Tokyo.
And there was no hiding Harvey’s joy at success in her primary event: “I am completely over the moon with that swim, it was more than I wanted! I just wanted to go out there, enjoy the swim – which I did – so then to look up and see that time was everything,” she said. “The British field in the SM6 is phenomenal, with Maisie and Ellie. I love racing against those girls – and now I can hopefully do it on the world stage, I’m very excited. It’s exhilarating. This event is like my baby. At one point, I was told to stop racing it, but I was like, ‘no, I love it, I do it because I enjoy it’. So to actually hit the qualifying time in it, it shows that hard work does pay off, really. I love racing here, it’s one of my favourite pools. My mum and my sister are helping out on poolside, so it was so nice for them to actually be here to see my swim rather than watching on the livestream where I couldn’t hear them or see them. I feel quite privileged that they’re on the team helping out, actually.”
After taking a break from the sport in 2019, Paralympic gold medallist Hannah Russell (S12) was back on form after winning final 1 of the Women’s multi-classification 100m Freestyle with a time of 1:01.39 and a total of 861 points by staying strong after a solid opening 50m. S9 swimmer Toni Shaw was aiming for a Paralympic debut in Tokyo, and also went faster than the required S9 time by touching in 1:03.71, enough for 826 points and second place. Louise Fiddes (S14, 1:01.09) rounded out the podium, nudging ahead of Russell in the final five metres and completing the 1-2-3 finish for Great Britain with 794 points. Stephanie Millward (Team Bath AS, S9, 1:06.75) amassed 718 points, improving on her 1:07.64 heat swim to rise 3 places up the rankings and finish in eighth place. Alice Tai (Ealing, S9) clocked 1:05.61 to finish sizth with 756 points. Suzanna Hext (S5) swam 1:29.62 in the heats.
Russell was pleased about her own performance and the high standard set by her teammates across the evening. “A lot of my teammates today on day one have done really well, quite a few athletes have gone under consideration times so the buzz around the pool is so big, so high with everyone supporting each other which is a really nice atmosphere,” she said. “Being part of that going into my race I was really wanting to go under my consideration time – it was in the back of my mind thinking I went a 1:02 in Manchester, it was an aim for me and I’m really happy I managed to do that tonight.”
Final 1 of the men’s equivalent event delivered a tight battle between Jordan Catchpole and Stephen Clegg. Catchpole came out on top with 878 points and a time of 53.79, while Clegg (S12) went under his target consideration time needed for the Paralympic Games this summer by 0.12s, achieving a British record of 53.72 (851 points) in the process.
In a strong field, S14 Jordan Catchpole and Clegg matched each other stroke for stroke right to the wall, with the latter just edging the win on time – but Catchpole’s World Series points score of 878 was enough to be top Brit, ahead of Clegg and Louis Lawlor (S14), who both tallied 851. The event’s overall winner was Ami Omer Dadaon from Israel, the S4 athlete notching 889 points. His compatriot Mark Malyar was third – behind Dadaon and Catchpole – on 877.
On his swim, Clegg said: “I’m pretty pleased with that. It’s not a main event for me so to secure a qualification standard on one of my secondary events is a good indication of the shape I’m in for my 100 Butterfly later in the week and it’s positive reflection on the training I’ve been doing so far this season. All my focus and training has been geared towards the 100 fly. There’s a lot more pressure on that one because it’s my main event but this is a good start and a good indicator that the type of training I’ve been doing has been working for me.”
In the Men’s MC 200m Individual Medley, Rhys Davies (S14) was close to a personal best on his way to finishing as the best-placed Brit, courtesy of 779 points in 2:19.25. Fellow S14 competitor Dylan Broom was right behind him on 745 in 2:21.31. The overall win went the way of Malyar of Israel (S7), who notched up an impressive 879 points, whilst France’s Portal (S13 – 863 points) and Spain’s Martinez Fernandez (S8 – 784) rounded out the top three.
Rounding out day one was the Men’s and Women’s MC 150m Individual Medleys, where Lyndon Longhorne - who broke the S4 British record in the 100m Freestyle earlier in the day - placed third in the men’s 150m IM event, behind Israeli duo Iyad Shalabi (SM1 – 1036) and Dagaon (SM4 – 775). Shalabi enjoyed a memorable day, having smashed his own world record by clocking a 4:57.21 in the morning heats.
The women’s event, meanwhile, was a one-woman affair, Jonne Moleman of the Netherlands (SM4) producing a brilliant performance to go under her classification’s world record for the second time in the day.
W 100m Freestyle; M 100m Freestyle; W 200m IM; M 200m IM; M 150m IM
British Swimming apologised that venue music was accidentally picked up during the Heats break period causing a copyright violation which they had to resolve with Youtube.
The Women’s MC 100m Freestyle heats saw a host of British world champions making early statements, with Tully Kearney (866 points), Alice Tai (854) and Toni Shaw (835) the highest scorers thanks to some quick swims with Kearney and Shaw both dipping under the respective qualifying consideration times for their classes - a feat they will look to repeat in the evening's finals.
S14 duo Reece Dunn (930) and Jordan Catchpole (872) will have been pleased with their swims in the Men’s MC 100m Freestyle. The Brits were first and third-highest placed after the heats respectively, with Israeli pair Mark Malyar (886) and Ami Omer Dadon (855) also faring well. There was also a S4 British record for Lyndon Longhorne, who lowered the mark to 1:38.69.
The Women’s 200m Individual Medley is a hotly-contested event among the British ranks – and thie heats gave some insight into that following the mid-session break. SM6 trio Grace Harvey (902), Maisie Summers-Newton (883) and Ellie Simmonds (866) all posted strong showings ahead of the final. Harvey and Summers-Newton were under the Paralympic qualifying consideration time and will hope to do again in the evening, while Simmonds was less than one tenth of a second outside it.
France’s Alex Portal (S13) topped the heats swims in the men's event on 860 points, followed by Mark Malyar of Israel (S7) on 855. Brits Catchpole and Dunn were level on 790, with Catchpole touching just ahead of his fellow S14 athlete.
The first heats session of BPSIM 2021 ended in memorable fashion, with Israel’s Iyad Shalabi smashing his own SM1 world record for the Men’s 150m Individual Medley, clocking 4:57.21, while the Netherlands’ Jonne Moleman went under the Women’s 150m Individual Medley world record time for SM4.
D2 Finals: W 100m Backstroke, M 100m Backstroke, W 50m Breaststroke, M 50m Breaststroke, Session Break, W 100m Breaststroke, M 100m Breaststroke, W 50m Backstroke and M 50m Backstroke
British records tumbled as a host of athletes powered to times that will ensure they are in the running for Paralympic selection.
Reece Dunn was among those to set new national bests and put himself in contention for a place on the plane to Tokyo in the summer. The Plymouth Leander man leading the way as three home-grown athletes dipped inside the S14 consideration time in the Men’s MC 100m Backstroke final. Dunn took the win and the British record for a second time in the day, his time of 59.96 seeing him as the first S14 Brit in history under the minute mark and earning him a mammoth 965 points. Louis Lawlor and Jordan Catchpole were stroke for stroke throughout and clocked 1:01.47 and 1:01.49 respectively to both get under the consideration mark, while Stephen Clegg (S12) went under his classification’s time in the heats.
The show-stopping performance was one that meant a lot to Dunn: “I’m quite happy with it! I’ve not done much training going into this, with injuries and everything, so I’m just happy to be dipping under the 60-second mark on the 100m Backstroke. To just go under 60, as an S14, it’s quite a challenge – so to lower that British record to under that 60-second mark is really nice.
“It’s nice to race again - it feels like your training has more to aim for through that, so that’s really nice. In fact it’s just nice to see everyone, teammates from the British team and have everyone around. It’s great to be in the racing atmosphere again! Backstroke was one of the things I was aiming for this week, to make the consideration time and the Paralympic team in it for later this year, so that’s really pleasing.”
The Women’s MC 100m Breaststroke showpiece also served up records and consideration times across the pool, an outcome that a packed heats session earlier in the day had hinted at. It was SB14 Louise Fiddes, reigning world champion in the discipline, who ultimately took victory with a tally of 843 points, thanks to a time of 1:16.84 which saw her under her classification’s Tokyo team mark.
The same could be said for Maisie Summers-Newton (SB6 – 819) in second with 1:36.02, and third-placed Grace Harvey, whose 1:43.82 (for 738) points was another SB5 British record - the Hoddesdon swimmer having already broken that best earlier in the day. SB13 star Rebecca Redfern rounded out a quartet of Brits to go under the consideration time for their class, touching in 1:18.28 to finish fifth on 701 points.
While she did not compete in the final, the MC 100m Breaststroke also brought Suzanna Hext a new national record too. The SB4 athlete’s 2:09.87 bettered a mark that had not been threatened since 1994.
Scott Quin stole the show in the men’s event, outpacing rival and British teammate Conner Morrison down the back 50m to claim World Series victory with a tally of 918. More importantly, his time of 1:05.97 was well inside the SB14 mark for Paralympic consideration. The Rio 2016 silver medallist built on what was a strong heat to provide another reminder of his enduring class.
“I’m quite happy with my day’s racing. Consistency is the key thing I’ve been looking at. I’ve not arrived here fully tapered so for me it is all about focussing on the process, see what I can do, and yes, I’m happy with the outcome,” said the 30-year-old. “It’s two years now since I’ve been within the consideration time for Tokyo. Looking back at what we’ve been doing at the Manchester Meet and Time Trials I’ve been getting quicker and quicker. I feel I have been climbing a mountain but have now reached the Lodge, so I can camp out for a day or two, then we go again from Monday.
“I’ve been training with Mat (Trodden) at Edinburgh University since July because of Covid, and there I’ve got a great bunch of breaststroke buddies to train with. It’s all going well and I feel like I’ve found that piece of the jigsaw I’ve been looking for. It was tough to change programme but I did it for me, and my support team, from physios, to S&C, to the coaches, we all fit together and it is pure gold.”
Hannah Russell made it two victories in two days with a dominant display in her favoured event, the Women’s MC 100m Backstroke, the first of Friday’s finals. The Manchester National Performance Centre athlete led from start to finish, building well into the race and ending strongly to clock an impressive 1:08.79 for 885 World Series points, ahead of Team Bath AS’ Stephanie Millward (S9 – 759, 1:13.88) who improved on her 1:15.36 heat swim to finish second and Emeline Pierre of France (S10 – 704) in third. Russell’s display also saw her easily inside her S12 Paralympic consideration time for the second time in the day, meaning it has been an impressive start to BPSIM 2021 for the double Paralympic champion.
In the Women’s 50m Breaststroke, an all-SB3 contest, Jonne Molleman of the Netherlands kept up her perfect run of wins for the meet by clocking a 52.99 to earn 980 points, ahead of Karina Lauridsen (456) of Denmark and M Fernandez Infante (341) of Spain, who were second and third respectively in terms of World Series points. Molleman would also go on to win the Women’s MC 50m Backstroke later on, tallying 887 points in that success. Estonian Matz Topkin won the men’s showdown with 783 points, ahead of Israeli pair Dadaon and Ariel Malyar.
Lyndon Longhorne (SB3 – 482) placed third in 1:00.54 in the Men’s MC 50m Breaststroke, as Ami Omer Dadaon (SB3) continued what is becoming a strong BPSIM for the Israel team, taking the win in 55.68 for 620 points. Earlier Longhorne had gone under a British S4 record that had stood since the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games by clocking a 53.31 in the Men’s MC 50m Backstroke heats.
Ahead of the evening session, a minute’s silence was held at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge as a mark of respect following the sad news of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh’s passing.
W 100m Backstroke, M 100m Backstroke, W 50m Breaststroke, M 50m Breaststroke, Session Break, W 100m Breaststroke, M 100m Breaststroke, W 50m Backstroke and M 50m Backstroke
Reece Dunn got one of the best responses of the meet so far as he broke the British S14 100m Backstroke record in a packed Men's MC 100m Backstroke heat on Friday morning. The Plymouth Leander man pulled clear down the second 50m to touch in 1:00.46, taking 0.24s off the previous record, set by rival and teammate Jordan Catchpole at this meet two years ago, earning him 941 points. Dunn’s swim also saw him well under the Paralympic consideration time, a feat he will look to repeat in the final. S12 Stephen Clegg did likewise in his classification, while compatriot Louis Lawlor was not far off the S14 mark, with a tantalising final in store later in the day. That pair both notched 876 points.
Hannah Russell picked up where she left off on day one, going more than one second under the S12 Paralympic consideration time in her favoured Women’s 100m Backstroke event, getting the morning’s heats underway with a 791-point haul. Three-time Paralympian Stephanie Millward (S9 - 715 points) also started the day well, placing second in the heats.
There were more British records to fall in the second session of heats, with Grace Harvey – fresh from a superb 200m Individual Medley victory on Thursday – breaking a near-17-year best mark for the Women’s SB5 100m Breaststroke. Her time of 1:44.21 was also the second time she has gone under the Paralympic consideration qualifying requirement this week.
Rebecca Redfern (S13) and Maisie Summers-Newton (SB6) were also under their respective requirement times ahead of what is set to be another eye-catching showpiece later in the day. Northampton’s Summers-Newton topped the heats placings with a points tally of 829, while Suzanna Hext was another to break a British record, her time of 2:09.87 resetting a mark that had stood since 1994 in the SB4 category.
The Men’s MC 100m Breaststroke final will be similarly anticipated if the heat is anything to go by. A strong field was led home by Paralympic and world medallist Scott Quin, the University of Edinburgh athlete powering well inside the S14 consideration time with a quick finish into the wall, touching in 1:05.96.
Lyndon Longhorne, meanwhile, dipped under a British Men’s S4 50m Backstroke record that had stood since the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games by clocking a 53.31 in the Men’s MC 50m Backstroke. The heats were topped by Matz Topkin of Estonia, with 743 points.
In the MC 50m Breaststroke events, Dutch athlete Jonne Molleman went under the SB3 world-record standard time again in the women’s heat, before Brit Lyndon Longhorne (502 points) found himself in a tight battle with fellow SB3 men Ami Omer Dadaon (Israel - 546) and Artur Apostolaki (Russia - 540), touching narrowly behind that pair. Molleman led the heats placings in the Women's MC 50m Backstroke too.
D3 Finals: W 50m Butterfly, M 50m Butterfly, W 400m Freestyle, M 400m Freestyle, W 200m Freestyle and M 200m Freestyle
A closely-contested Women’s 400m Freestyle and a Lyndon Longhorne British record double were among the highlights of day three.
Three-time Paralympian Ellie Simmonds led home an impressive S6 1-2-3 for the Brits in the mixed-classification 400m Freestyle final, an assured swim seeing Simmonds to World Series gold with 5:25.98 and a points tally of 887. Maisie Summers-Newton (5:28.83, 865) and Grace Harvey (5:37.25, 801) were second and third respectively. Despite finishing fourth overall though, University of Aberdeen athlete Toni Shaw produced a swim of great significance, going comfortably inside the S9 Paralympic consideration requirement time, touching in 4:45.50. It is a performance the 17-year-old believes can be one to build on.
“It was okay. I haven’t done that many 400s, I think this was only my fourth this year. Hopefully when I have a few more under my belt, it will keep getting quicker. While I think it could have been better, it was controlled. I am competitive, so I much prefer someone there in the next lane alongside me. That really pushes me on and makes me want to be quicker. Hopefully in a different race and in different circumstances I would go faster,” she said. “I like the 400m Freestyle because it’s a longer event. If you make a mistake at the start, it doesn’t really matter as you have time to right the wrong and make it up. You can’t do that in the sprint events like the 100 or 200. I am pleased so far with my performances. It is just great to be back competing, I have really missed it.”
The Men’s MC 400m Freestyle was also a close contest across the entire pool, with French S13 Alex Portal taking the win with 906 points. Israel’s Mark Malyar was second (4:45.96, 876), narrowly ahead of fellow S7 man Michael Jones ( 4:48.04), the reigning Paralympic champion earning 857. Jonathan Booth (S9, 819), Ollie Hynd (S9, 813), Jacob Leach (S9) and Oliver Carter (S10) finished fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh respectively.
The same could be said for the Men’s MC 200m Freestyle finale, with eight of the 10 finalists being British S14 athletes.
Reece Dunn – fresh from breaking the S14 100m Backstroke record on Friday night – found himself locked in another intriguing battle with Jordan Catchpole, the pair having come close in the backstroke too. Dunn again came out on top, touching in 1:57.01 to dip under the Tokyo consideration time and notch 899 points in the process, enough for World Series silver behind Israeli S4 swimmer Ami Omer Dadaon (2:58.29, 914).
Catchpole, meanwhile, did enough for third on 865, a day after clocking the consideration time in his favoured backstroke event. “I’m just really happy with where I am after the lack of training I’ve had. I’ve only been back in the pool since January, so to be just off personal bests in the majority of my races is not too bad,” said the Team Waveney man. “I’m very happy with the 200 Freestyle; I believe it was quicker than I did at trials for the World Championships in 2019, so I’m in a great place at the minute and with a great mindset. I’ll be a lot better when I’ve had a bit more training with my coach back at home, so I’m just looking forward to what I can do later in the year. I was really happy to get under the consideration time in the backstroke too, to hopefully put my name on the sheet for the team. I’m just looking forward to more training and seeing what I can do in the summer.”
Elsewhere, Leah O’Connell (39.34) held on well under pressure from S7 rival An Nishida of Japan to place second in the Women’s MC 50m Butterfly final, her tally of 634 points bettered only by the Netherlands’ Jonne Moleman (Holland’s S4 swimmer Jonne Moleman (45.67, 1051) , who again went under the registered S4 world record to take World Series gold. Estonia’s Matz Topkin (S4) won the men’s event with a 797 point tally.
The Women’s 200m Freestyle was a race between two S14 swimmers, Hatfield’s Louise Fiddes pulling clear of Spain’s Maqueda Andrade to win in 2:16.64, worth 728 points.
Earlier in the day, Derwentside swimmer Longhorne was in form to record a duo of new British records. Fresh from setting a new best mark in the Men’s S4 50m Backstroke on day two, he knocked more than eight seconds off the previous in the Men’s MC 50m Butterfly heats to touch in 56.05. He did not have long to recover before the first of the Men’s MC 200m Freestyle heats, when he again powered well inside the previous British record for an S4 swimmer, stopping the clock at 3:37.70. That record had not been broken since 1998.
D3 Heats: W 50m Butterfly, M 50m Butterfly, W 400m Freestyle, M 400m Freestyle, W 200m Freestyle and M 200m Freestyle
Fresh from setting a new British record in the Men’s S4 50m Backstroke on day two, Lyndon Longhorne was back to break more national marks on Saturday morning. First up, in the Men’s S4 50m Butterfly heats, the Derwentside swimmer knocked more than eight seconds off the previous best to touch in 56.05.
He did not have long to recover before the first of the Men’s MC 200m Freestyle heats, when he again powered well inside the previous British record for an S4 swimmer, stopping the clock at 3:37.70. That record had not been broken since 1998. Jordan Catchpole placed highest out of a wealth of British S14 talent in the second 200m Freestyle heat, his points tally of 799 enough for second qualifier behind Israel’s Ami Omer Dadaon (S4), who notched an impressive 944. Reece Dunn and Dylan Broom were close behind Catchpole in preparation for what should be an intriguing final showdown.
Ellie Simmonds led home a British S6 1-2-3 in the heats of the Women’s 400m Freestyle, her points tally of 866 placing her ahead of Maisie Summers-Newton (841) and Grace Harvey (761). All three will be targeting the Paralympic consideration time in the finals – as will S9 Toni Shaw, who looked controlled throughout her race to secure 735 points.
In the men’s heat, Mikey Jones was the top-placed Brit, the S7 man clocking 4:52.74 for 816 points. France’s Alex Portal (S13 – 878) heads into the final as the highest ranked, with the in-form Mark Malyar of Israel (S7 – 841) behind him. Jones will be joined by compatriots Oliver Hynd, Jacob Leach, Jonathan Booth and Oliver Carter in looking to threaten their classification’s respective Tokyo consideration time when they return later in the day.
The Women’s MC 200m Freestyle was a two-person affair, Louise Fiddes’ time of 2:16.64 and points haul of 713 seeing her qualify ahead of fellow S14 competitor Maqueda Andrade of Spain, who earned 448 points, while Camden Swiss Cottage’s Leah O’Connell placed third in the Women’s MC 50m Butterfly heats, the S7 athlete tallying 616 points. Jonne Moleman (S4) of the Netherlands again led the way on 928.
D4 Finals: W 50m Freestyle, M 50m Freestyle, W 100m Butterfly and M 100m Butterfly.
Stephen Clegg set a stunning new S12 world record in the Men’s 100m Butterfly to bring the curtain down on the British Para-Swimming International Meet in style. Clegg had threatened a fast time by going close to his own British record in the morning’s heats – and the Chris Jones-coached sprinter paced his finals swim to perfection, staying strong all the way to reach the wall in 56.75, nine hundredths of a second under the previous best, set by Russia’s Roman Makarov in 2013. Unsurprisingly, that world record effort earned Clegg World Para Swimming World Series gold on the night, as well as sending him well under his classification’s Paralympic consideration time, while S14 athlete Reece Dunn hit yet another consideration time of his own, touching in 56.19 for 910 points to Clegg’s 1004.
“I'm buzzing with that time. No-one can ever really complain with a world record!” said 25-year-old Clegg, a silver medallist in the S12 100m Butterfly from the 2019 World Championships. “Obviously everyone wants to give it their best and I think I do have a little more to give through the season, but it's a great starting point to the year with the first main competition of the season and a great building block for the next five months to come. The reaction to the world record was great. I wasn't expecting much of a reaction at all because there aren't many people here with the COVID restrictions and people heading home with it being the last day - but it was great to hear all my teammates and staff get behind me as I finished, it was really nice to hear.
“I've been doing a lot of work this season around that 100m Butterfly, which has been my main focus. Everything is really clicking on all my events, even the ones I've not really worked on that much. I thought I was in a good place to do something pretty special with that 100m Butterfly and I'm glad I was able to do that, but I think I've got a lot more to give throughout the year. From here, I’ll take a few days and then reset. The end goal isn’t world records - it is the Paralympic Games and as great as it is to have a world record, the target is that gold in Tokyo.”
The Women’s MC 100m Butterfly also served up an impressive effort by Louise Fiddes, who recorded her second Paralympic consideration time of the meet on her way to victory. Fiddes had already gone under the S14 100m Breaststroke time – and after coming close with a controlled effort in the heats, she clocked a 1:07.21 to go three tenths under the consideration requirement for this event. Her tally of 850 points was plenty enough for World Series gold, with S9 Toni Shaw again looking good to claim bronze with 724 points. Isabel Hernandez Santos of Spain (S10) separated the British pair on 731.
For Fiddes, her final night win was something of a bonus after meeting her main target earlier in the week. “I'm really pleased. Some of the races weren't quite how I wanted, but today I was really happy and I really just enjoyed being here, being with the team, seeing everyone - it was a really nice meet,” she said. “It honestly feels a bit like a dream, because it's been such a long time since I've seen most of the members of the team, it does make it seem so much more fun and real to be all together and racing again. The 100m Breaststroke was my main focus, this one was a little bit of a surprise, the 100m Butterfly. I don't really enjoy doing fly, I think it's just all the gym work I've been doing, it just all came together. The 100m Breaststroke is everything I think about, from the minute I get up to the minute I go to sleep, that event is everything to me.”
The final night of action at Ponds Forge had earlier got off to a fast start in the Women’s MC 50m Freestyle showdown. Tully Kearney built on a strong heat effort to claim World Series silver, narrowly missing out on her S5 British record by touching in 36.52, to notch up 948 points. Hannah Russell (S12) has been in fine form all week, and the Graeme Smith-coached athlete also broke the 900-point mark, her time of 27.65 earning her 920 points for third. That pacey effort also saw her under the S13 consideration time for Paralympic selection, with no S12 50m Freestyle on the programme at the Games. Jonne Moleman of the Netherlands (S4 – 961) was the overall winner.
Michael Jones placed fifth in the Men’s MC 50m Freestyle, the S7 swimmer putting in a solid effort to secure 682 points, just ahead of S6 compatriot William Perry, on 659. Dimosthenis Michalentzakis of Greece (S8) took World Series gold with 815 points in a fine showing.
Meanwhile, the morning heats saw Lyndon Longhorne round out a memorable few days by setting his fifth S4 British record of the meet, a time of 45.26 in the Men’s MC 50m Freestyle heats going under the previous mark set in 1999 by Paul Johnston. Having also clocked new British bests in the S4 100m Freestyle, S4 50m Backstroke, S4 50m Butterfly and S4 200m Freestyle, the Derwentside swimmer was unsurprisingly delighted with his efforts in Sheffield.
“It’s been a very busy week, going from classification on Sunday and being down here for a week. It’s been crazy, the build-up, four weeks in the pool, to now taking five British records – it’s been more than I expected! I wasn’t expecting to get any British records, to be honest with you, so to get all of them, it’s been a massive achievement,” he said. “I’ve over-exceeded, everyone’s absolutely buzzing with my performances. Thanks to my home programme, Derwentside, the coaches up there and British Swimming to get me down to Manchester for a solid four weeks of swimming and ready for this.”
D4 Heats: W 50m Freestyle, M 50m Freestyle, W 100m Butterfly and M 100m Butterfly.
On her 24th birthday, Tully Kearney came close to her own British S5 record as the Women’s MC 50m Freestyle kicked off the final morning of heats. Kearney touched in 36.62 to notch an impressive 940 World Series points, qualifying second overall for the evening’s finals behind S4 Jonne Moleman (942) of the Netherlands. Hannah Russell (S12) was third on 844 as she continues a strong few days in Sheffield.
Derwentside’s Lyndon Longhorne has been in record-breaking mood all weekend – and he again set a new British best for S4 athletes with 45.26 in the Men's MC 50m Freestyle heats, going under the mark set back in 1999 by Paul Johnston.
Louise Fiddes – a World Series winner earlier in the week in the Women’s MC 100m Breaststroke – looked to be in promising form again to finish top of qualifying in the MC 100m Butterfly heat. Fiddes was narrowly outside the S14 Paralympic consideration mark, clocking 1:07.79 to earn 828 points. That performance bodes well for her chances of going under the requirement time in the final. Toni Shaw (S9 – 704 points) also swam well, while S13 Katie Crowhurst earned 497 points.
There were two Brits under their respective Tokyo consideration times in the final heats event of the meet, the Men’s MC 100m Butterfly. S12 man Stephen Clegg led the way, putting together a brilliant swim to finish in 57.42, worth 970 points and taking him more than a second inside his Paralympic requirement time.
The in-form Reece Dunn also met another time for his S14 classification with a 57.80 for 836 points, ahead of what should be another eye-catching showdown in the finale.
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