Paralympic gold medallist Lakeisha Patterson led the charge for the Aussies competing at the World Para Swimming World Series in Indianapolis, USA on June 9-11, picking up an impressive five gold medals.
Patterson won the women’s 100m and 400m freestyle S8, 100m backstroke S8, 100m butterfly S8, and 200m individual medley S8, and came in second in the 100m breaststroke S8, signalling a strong start to the season for the teenager.
After picking up two gold medals at the Paralympic Games in Rio last year, the Brisbane-based swimmer will be looking to continue her fine form as she contests the 2017 World Para Swimming Championships in Mexico this October.
Fellow Paralympians Blake Cochrane, Braedan Jason and Logan Powell all picked up four golds each from the meet, with Australia claiming a total of 33 top place finishes.
The young team set the standard for the season so far, with 63 per cent of performances faster than the Hancock Prospecting Australian Swimming Championships in April, and 82 per cent of finals performances faster than the heats.
As is the requirement for Para-swimming, seven Australian swimmers also underwent international classification at this meet, with two changing classes.
Paralympic gold medallists Maddie Elliott and Tiffany Thomas Kane have moved from S8, SB8, SM8 to S9, SB9, SM9, and S6, SB6, SM6 to S7, SB7 SM7, respectively, while newcomer Jasmine Greenwood had her first international classification and currently sits in class S10, SB9, SM10. All three athletes will have their classification reviewed again in 2018.
“The classification of athletes in Para-swimming is a requirement for competition and carried out by independent medical and technical classifiers,” said Paralympic High Performance Manager Adam Pine.
“We have a strong support system around our athletes to ensure that they will continue to race confidently and I am confident that the athletes will embrace the challenge and continue to improve.
“Already we have seen these athletes step up at the Para World Series meet with Tiffany collecting two gold, Jasmine picking up one and Maddie taking a third-place finish in her new classification.
“Overall I am extremely impressed with the Australian team’s performance so early in the year and I am looking forward to seeing them continue to progress as we head towards the Para World Championships in October and the Commonwealth Games in April 2018. Plus it is only 1169 days until the Tokyo Paralympic Games.” Pine said.
The final World Series will take place in Berlin, Germany from July 6 to 9, the last major international competition before the World Para-swimming Championships, to be held from 30 September to 6 October.
The Australian team will have a Para Grand Prix meet at Southport on the Gold Coast this September and this will be the last hit-out before the World Para-swimming Championships, as well as the last domestic opportunity to qualify for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
By Swimming Australia