The Australian Dolphins have finished their Pan Pacific Para Swimming Championships campaign victorious, winning a total of 43 gold, 30 silver and 21 bronze to top the medal tally.
In a fierce competition against Para-swimming powerhouses USA, Canada, Japan as well as four strong swimming nations – Brazil, New Zealand, Singapore and Costa Rica, the Dolphins’ skills shone through, proving they’ll be the ones with targets on their back at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, just a little over two years away
Rio 2016 Paralympian Rachael Watson set the pace on the final night of competition, winning the first gold medal on offer in the one lap dash, the 50m freestyle S4.
Finishing in a time of 40.00, nearly two seconds ahead of Brazil’s Patricia Santos (41.91) and Team USA’s Leanne Smith (44.28), Watson was thrilled to win gold on home soil with a roaring crowd cheering her along the way.
“It feels amazing to get the win in my pet event, but to win it on home soil is an incredible feeling,” Watson said.
“It’s been really nice to do an international meet here in Australia, representing our own country on home soil with so many people watching and supporting us.”
London 2012 Paralympian Taylor Corry also impressed tonight as well as over the five day meet, showing off her career-best form winning four gold medals from four events. Swimming 1:08.77 in the 100m butterfly S14 final tonight, Corry lead from the start and finished nearly five seconds ahead of Canada’s Justine Morrier.
“I’m so happy with my swim tonight but I’m even happier with the meet in general,” Corry said.
“I missed out on Rio by half a second, I missed out on World Champs last year by two seconds and I’m just so glad to be part of the Australian team again.”
“I didn’t take much notice of how far ahead I was in that race because for me, it’s just about what I can do for this family. My swimming family. “
The evergreen Matt Levy, who after four Paralympic Games still has more to give. Claiming gold in the 50m freestyle S7, Levy touched the wall in a time of 28.94. The win turned into an Australian quinella, with Sydneysider Rohan Bright claiming silver in a time of 30.71 ahead of Brazil’s Talisson Glock.
“It was great to finish the meet off with a decent swim tonight. It’s been a great atmosphere here, it’s great to be in Cairns and it’s been great to get so many PBs during these last five days,” he said.
In other results tonight, Australia’s lucky charm, Lakeisha ‘Lucky’ Patterson claimed the second gold medal on offer to the host nation in the S8 50m freestyle event, shaving more than a second off her heat time to touch the wall in 30.39, while 13-year-old Jasmine Greenwood swam 28.87 in the S10 final to become the first bronzed Aussie of the night.
The S10 men’s final was the nail-biting event of the evening, and although Brazil’s Phelipe Rodrigues took the title, Dolphin Rowan Crothers made the race one to remember, finishing 0.07 seconds behind Rodrigues in a time of 23.78. The closest race of the whole meet.
In the 100m butterfly S13, USC Spartan swimmers Braedan Jason and Jacob Templeton took charge. Jason completed his race to win his second gold medal of the night in under a minute (59.64) while Templeton raced just over in 1:00.56.
The clear champions of the Pan Pacific Para Swimming Championships, Australia were unrelenting until the end, with the women’s 4 x 100m freestyle 34 point relay team grabbing the last gold medal of the meet. The team consisting of Paige Leonhardt, Ellie Cole. Lakeisha Patterson and Tiffany Thomas Kane took the lead from the start but were pushed by Team USA right until the end when Thomas Kane widened the small gap in her final strokes to touch the wall first.
By Swimming Australia