The Australian swim team has won two gold, two silver and a bronze medal on the penultimate night of Paralympic competition at the pool, to take their total medal tally to 26, including eight gold.
A gold medal to Ellie Cole in the women’s 100m backstroke S9, a gold medal and world record to Maddison Elliott in the 50m freestyle S8, and silver medals in the 34 point medley and to Lakeisha Patterson capped off a memorable night in Rio.
Cole, Elliott and Patterson joined up with Madeleine Scott to take the silver in the relay behind Great Britain who set a new world record of 4.45.23, with Australia’s time of 4.45.85 also under the previous best world mark.
“Obviously we’re still very happy with silver and Maddi just pointed out that we were five seconds faster than Worlds last year,” said Cole.
“So we are definitely heading in the right direction. We knew that relay was going to be a close one. We won by 0.03 in London so we’ll definitely be back again for Tokyo 2020.”
Elliott’s swim in the women’s 50m freestyle S8 bettered her own world record by almost half a second, with the 17-year-old stopping the clock in 29.73, with Patterson close behind for silver in a time of 30.13, equal to the previous world record.
“I’m overwhelmed with emotion right now because I’m not fully comprehending at the moment,” said Elliott.
“It’s been three years that I’ve been trying to break the 30 (second mark) and to be able to break the world record as well, I’m really stoked and overwhelmed with emotion right now.”
“All I wanted to do was to produce a good race, and I produced and even better race so I’m really stoked. Nothing is going to stop me now.”
For Cole, a four time gold medallist in London, the nine day wait for her main event had taken its toll and the relief an excitement exploded when she hit the wall to secure back-to-back Paralympic titles in the 100m backstroke.
“To be able to get a Paralympic record is amazing and I guess it’s starting to pave the way for the next generation of Paralympic swimmers,” said Cole.
“In Tokyo I’ll be 28, and on the verge of retirement, but knowing that the younger swimmers are coming through is exciting.”
Having tasted team gold in a world record winning relay last night, Cole said the wait for individual gold has been difficult.
“It’s day nine of competition and that can be hard for any athlete. I was watching the Olympics and listening to the swimmers saying how much of a roller coaster the emotions were, and I completely understand what they were talking about.”
“I knew that I was world record holder going into that race, and I was still questioning whether I was worthy, so it’s amazing that even with the amount of psychological sports training that I’ve had, that those thoughts still come in. Usually the athletes that win are the ones that can put those thoughts aside and tell themselves that they have a good crack at winning.”
An individual gold medallist in the 400m freestyle earlier in the week, Brenden Hall added a bronze to his collection of Rio souvenirs storming home in the 100m backstroke to finish in a personal best of 1.04.67, with Timothy Hodge seventh in 1.05.18 and Logan Powell eight overall in 1.06.13.
The opening event of the night saw Matthew Levy just out-touched for a bronze in the men’s 100m freestyle S&, finishing fourth in 1.02.28, while Braeden Jason finished seventh overall in the Men’s 100m freestyle S13.