Australian Paralympic gold medallists Brenden Hall (S9) and Tiffany Thomas Kane (SB7) led the charge for Australia at the 2019 World Para-swimming World Series, with both claiming gold medals tonight (15 February) at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre.
Hailing from Queensland, Hall got the Aussies off to a good start, taking the first win of the night in the men’s 400m freestyle multi-class in a time of 4:22.88. Compatriot Logan Powell (S9) received the bronze medal (4:29.37) after finishing behind France’s young prodigy, Ugo Didier (S9).
Eighteen months out from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and with the 2019 World Para-swimming Championships fast approaching, Hall said he was pleased to race against high-calibre athletes from around the world.
“I loved being able to have some international competition in our own backyard to start the year off ,” Hall said.
“I’m surprised with the win, but I know I’ll start to feel better as the weeks go on, and with some extra fine-tuning, I’ll be ready for trials in six weeks’ time.
“It’s always great to get some race practice in, so I know what’s needed to get there.”
Continuing Australia’s momentum, Thomas Kane claimed the nation’s second gold medal of the night, finishing first in the women’s 50m breaststroke multi-class. Recording a time of 43.59, the 17-year-old beat out Ashley van Rijswijk (SB14) from Wagga Wagga Swimming Club, who finished second (37.36), and fellow Aussie representative Madeleine Scott (SB9), who took home bronze (37.99).
In a competitive men’s breaststroke field, two-time Paralympian and home town hero Ahmed Kelly (SB3) claimed the silver medal across 50m in 54.34, with Matthew Ward (SB9) (32.54) placing third and Matt Levy (SB6) (43.71) securing fourth spot. Anuar Akhmetov (SB13) from Kazakhstan finished first in 31.61.
In a nail-biting finish, Paralympic golden girl Lakeisha Patterson (S9) and newcomer Jasmine Greenwood (S10) drew for the silver medal in the women’s 400m freestyle multi-class. France’s Claire Supiot (S8) claimed the gold in 5:01.61.
Next off the blocks was the men’s 100m butterfly multi-class, which saw Australia pick up the silver and bronze medal. Timothy Hodge (S9) (1:02.93) and Liam Schluter (S14) (59.87) placed second and third respectively after finishing behind Japan’s Keichi Nakajima (S14) (58.07).
The women’s race also saw Australians feature in the medals, with Scott (S9) (1:12.04) and Taylor Corry (S14) (1:09.51) placing second and third, respectively. Victorians Ruby Storm (S14) and Emily Beecroft (S9) rounded out the top five, with Hong Kong’s Chan Yui-lam (S14) taking home the gold.
In the final two events of the night, the Australians added another two medals to their tally, recording silvers in the men’s and women’s 100m freestyle multi-class.
After claiming a bronze medal earlier in the night, Schluter finished second (55.25) behind New Zealand’s Cameron Leslie (S4) (1:24.17), while six-time Paralympic gold medallist Ellie Cole (S9) received silver behind close friend Sophie Pascoe (S9) from New Zealand, who took home the gold (1:01.17).
Fresh out of the pool, Schluter said he was glad to be reunited with his Dolphin teammates and was delighted with his personal best performance.
“It’s good to see all the team again, but the only thing I don’t like is the weather, it’s a bit chilly,” he said.
“I’m very happy with my swim. This morning wasn’t a great swim but tonight was an awesome swim.”
All eight of tonight’s events were swum as multi-class races. This means that athletes from all classes competed in the same race, with the Para-swimmer who recorded the time closest to their class’ world record crowned the winner of that race.
Action continues tomorrow at 09:00 AEDT with the men’s and women’s 100m backstroke multi-class.
By Swimming Australia