Lucky leads Para Dolphins to a flying start in Toronto
The Australian team is off to a flying start at the Para-Swimming Canadian Open in Toronto – notching six wins, four second placings and three thirds.
From the 15 individual swims the Dolphins recorded four personal best times and four swims faster than their Australian Championship times in April.
There were another three swims within 0.20 of personal bests in what Team Leader Adam Pine described as a “promising start to racing” at a meet Swimming Canada provided when the Para World Swimming Championships were postponed in Mexico City after the earthquake.
Leading the way in the Multi-Class program for the Australians were Rio gold medallists Lakeisha “Lucky” Patterson and Brenden Hall who both were victorious in their respective 400m freestyle timed finals against the cream of Canada and the USA.
Patterson, 18, from the Sunshine Coast clocked a time of 4:42.57 to win – just two seconds outside her Rio Paralympic gold medal winning time and her own world record set at the Australian titles – amassing a whopping 1051 points under the Swimming Canada system.
She finished well ahead of American Rebecca Myers (1001 pts) 4:24.49 and Canada’s Aurelie Rivard (965pts) 4:34.08 in what was the standout swim of the night.
NSW South Coast rookie, 12-year-old Jasmine Greenwood clocked a personal best of 4:56.62 to finish fifth.
Hall, the boy from Petrie in Queensland, who set the Rio lanes alight last year again proved too good in the 400m freestyle when he recorded a time of 4:16.14 (977pts) in an Australian trifecta.
Fellow Queenslander Rowan Crothers (922pts) was second in a personal best time of 4:08.61 with four-time Paralympian Matthew Levy third (909 pts) 4:58.85.
The Dolphins recorded a second trifecta when the girls Madeleine Scott 1:09.67 (944pts) won the 100m butterfly from Paige Leonhardt 1:07.38 (927pts) and Emily Beecroft 1:10.61 (922pts).
Seventeen-year-old Beecroft later clocked an impressive personal best of 1:04.72 (31.44) lead off swim in the 34pt 4x100m freestyle relay won by Australia with Patterson clocking 1:06.93; Monique Murphy1:04.09 and Tiffany Thomas-Kane 1:20.98 – who earlier finished second in the S1-S7 50m butterfly in 38.94 (803pts).
It was a big drop from the girl from Gippsland in Victoria who set a previous best of 1:06.29 at the Australian Championships and a swim that could well put her well into contention for Commonwealth Games selection.
The other win for Australia went to Matt Levy (31.69) 935pts in the 50m butterfly.
In the men’s 100m butterfly Tim Hodge snuck into second place with a personal best of 1.02.66 (851pts) and Braeden Jason was third in 59.96, (777pts) with Canada’s Alex Elliot taking the win in a new National record of 58.39 (899pts).
Pine said the performances were an encouraging start for the Australians who relished the opportunity to race in Toronto, following the postponement of their World Championships.
“Everyone is certainly thankful to the Canadians for putting this meet on in what is a first-class facility here in Toronto,” said Pine.
“Our focus is on performance and trying to make the most of the opportunity to race internationally.
“It is good competition and our team is certainly thankful to get the chance to swim and post some fast times.”
The racing will continue tonight with results available at: https://swimming.ca/en/events-results/events/para-swimming-canadian-open/
Photo credit Swimming Australia Ltd.