Members of the Australian Dolphins swim team boosted the country’s medal tally on the second night of the World Para-swimming World Series in Melbourne, VIC, collecting another five gold, three silver and four bronze.

Freestyle specialist Rowan Crothers (S10) took the men’s 50m freestyle crown, powering home in 23.86 (915 points) – just 0.14 seconds off the time he clocked at last year’s World Para-swimming Championships, and under the qualifying time for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. The 22-year-old is in splendid form, having already won gold in the men’s 100m freestyle and just falling short of the world record in his classification.

The Yeronga Park product said that while he was pleased with his time, he remains resolute in his process.

“I’m really happy with the two swims from this week in the 50m and 100m,” he said.

“I’m not too sure how that 50m went and I won’t know until I speak to Robbie [Van Der Zant, his coach] and he tells me, because really the times aren’t as important here as the process and that’s what I’m really working on 0 making sure I really execute my race plans properly and develop on them in the lead-up to Tokyo.”

Rounding out the podium in the men’s 50 freestyle was New Zealand’s Cameron Leslie (S4), who finished second in a time of 38.32 (910 points) and Australian up-and-comer Oscar Stubbs (S13), who placed third in 25.34 (767 points).

Rachael Watson (S4) shone in the women’s 50m freestyle, coming out on top with 865 points and a time of 39.75 – also under the qualifying time for Tokyo – with Katja Dedekind (S13) in second place (28.31, 836 points) and Katherine Downie (S10) in third (29.13, 829 points).

Also on night two, Dedekind came out on top in the women’s 100m backstroke. The 18-year-old posted a time of 1:08.71 (877 points) to clinch gold ahead of Ellie Cole (S9) and the USA’s Elizabeth Smith (S9).

A delighted Dedekind has been pleased with her preparation and the meet so far.

“It’s nice to have achieved a gold medal in this event. My time was faster than this morning, so I’ll take that,” Dedekind said.

“We didn’t really have a break over Christmas and New Year as Tokyo is around the corner, so we’ve been training hard as a squad, and my times are close to State times [the 2019 Queensland Swimming Championships] or equal from December States which is really good.”

Jake Michel (SB14) secured his second gold medal of the meet in the men’s 100m breaststroke. After capturing top spot in the 50m race, he recorded a strong swim of 1:08.38 (857 points) to beat out the USA’s Evan Austin (SB6) and fellow Dolphin Matthew Levy (SB6). Austin claimed silver in 1:24.44 (810 points), with Levy clocking 1:25.65 (776 points) for bronze.

Tiffany Thomas Kane (SB7) also won her second medal in Melbourne – silver in the women’s 100m breaststroke. The breaststroke specialist and world champion hit the wall in 1:34.80 (803 points) to clinch second place ahead of Paige Leonhardt (SB14), who touched in 1:18.61 (788 points). New Zealand’s Nikita Howarth topped the podium in 1:33.81 (829 points).

In the men’s 100m backstroke, Timothy Hodge (S9) overcame tough competition in New Zealand’s Jesse Reynolds (S9) and Dolphins teammate Ricky Betar (S14), clocking 1:03.74 (886 points) to Reynolds’ 1:05.88 (802 points) and Betar’s 1:05.03 (757 points).

By Swimming Australia
Posted: 16/02/2020
Photo with thanks to Swimming Victoria