Rio’s magnificent seven with Rachael Watson in world record-breaking form will again lead the Australian Paralympic swim team into the IPC World Championships in Mexico City in September-October.
Watson, Maddison Elliott, Lakeisha Patterson, Ellie Cole, Timothy Disken, Tiffany Thomas Kane and Brenden Hall, thrilled Australia with their gold medal swims at last year’s Rio Paralympics.
They will now be among 18 members of that team in the 20-strong Para Dolphins, named for the nine-day Championships.
They will be joined by two newcomers to the team in NSW pair, 12-year-old Jasmine Greenwood from the Bay and Basin Club in Jervis Bay and 19-year-old Abigal Lihou from Ferny Hills – who also set two new world best times during the week-long Championships.
Watson, who was only classified into the S4 wheelchair class last June wet to the Games as a real rookie and came out with gold and an new Olympic record in her pet event, the 50 metres freestyle.
But she has returned home to up her training under Chandler club coach Rob Hindmarsh at the Brisbane Aquatic Centre and build on her daily routines to smash two world records in one day, lowering her time to 37.87.
Swimming Australia’s Paralympic Program Manager Adam Pine is delighted with the way his athletes have returned from Rio and picked up just where they’ve left off and is full of praise for Watson.
”Rachael has demonstrated just what you can do if you work on your life skills as well as your swimming skills and that is just what she has done,” said Pine.
“To come where she has come from in less than 12 months is quite extraordinary and to see her improve since Rio is a real credit to her and her coach.
“Overall the return of these athletes has been great – I couldn’t be happier, especially with the team for Mexico capped at 20 and we have over 30 athletes who have met the qualifying standards.”
Australian Paralympic Dolphins Swim Team, IPC World Swimming Championships, Mexico City, Mexico, September 30-October 8:
Emily Beecroft (VIC)
Blake Cochrane (QLD)
Ellie Cole (QLD)
Rowan Crothers (QLD)
Katja Dedekind (QLD)
Timothy Disken (VIC)
Maddison Elliott (NSW)
Jasmine Greenwood (NSW)
Brenden Hall (QLD)
Timothy Hodge (NSW)
Braedan Jason (QLD)
Paige Leonhardt (QLD)
Matthew Levy (NSW)
Abigail Lihou (NSW)
Monique Murphy (QLD)
Lakeisha Patterson (QLD)
Liam Schluter (QLD)
Madeleine Scott (VIC)
Tiffany Thomas Kane (NSW)
Rachael Watson (QLD)
Team Leader: Adam Pine
Head Coach: Leigh Nugent
Coaches: Harley Connolly (Lawnton), Nathan Doyle (USC Spartans), David Heyden (UQ Swim)
Yuriy Vdovychenko (National Training Centre)
By Swimming Australia
Photo with thanks to Delly Carr / Swimming Australia