Saturday Serves Up Strong Swims
Members of the Australian Dolphins swim team boosted the country’s medal tally on the second night of the World Para Swimming World Series at Melbourne Sports Centres – MSAC, collecting another five gold, three silver and four bronze.
Freestyle specialist Rowan Crothers (S10) took the Men’s 50m Freestyle Multi-Class crown, powering home in 23.86 (915) – just 0.14 seconds off his time from last year’s World Para Championships and under the qualifying time for Tokyo. The 22-year-old is in splendid form, after collecting gold in the 100m event on Friday night and narrowly falling short of the world record for his classification.
The Yeronga Park product said 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 50 and 100,” he said.
“I’m not too sure how that 50 went and I won’t know until I speak to Robbie (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 – making sure I really execute my race plans properly and develop on them in the lead up to Tokyo.
“It’s also amazing to see this competition be an opportunity as part of the World Para Series, it’s awesome to see swimmers from different countries coming across here, it’s just so much fun to race some of the best talent from across the world on home soil.”
Rounding out the podium in the Men’s 50 Freestyle Multi-Class 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).
Chandler’s Rachael Watson shone in the Women’s 50m Freestyle Multi-Class, coming out on top in a time of 39.75 and 865 points – also under the Tokyo qualifying time of 42.62. Having won silver at the recent World Para Championships in London last September, the Paralympian pushed herself to the wall to triumph over USC Spartan’s Katja Dedekind (S13) (28.31, 836 points) and Perth City’s Katherine Downie (S10) (29.13, points 829).
Dedekind took to the blocks again on night two, this time coming out on top in the Women’s 100m Backstroke Multi-Class. The 18-year-old posted a time of 1:08.71 (877 points) to receive the gold ahead of Knox Pymble’s Paralympian 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 or equal from December states which is really good.”
Jake Michel (SB14) secured his second gold medal of the meet on night two in the Men’s 100m Breaststroke Multi-Class. After capturing top spot in the 50m race last night, the Carina Leagues CJ’s athlete recorded a strong swim of 1:08.38 (857 points) to beat out the USA’s Evan Austin (SB6) and fellow Dolphin, North Sydney’s Matthew Levy (SB6). Austin’s claimed silver in 1:24.44 (810 points) while Levy clocked 1:25.65 (776 points).
Monte’s Tiffany Thomas Kane (SB7) also secured her second medal of the competition, taking home silver in the Women's 100m Breaststroke Multi-Class. The breaststroke specialist and world champion hit the wall in 1:34.80 (803 points) to nab second place ahead of fellow Australian Paige Leonhardt (SB14) from the University of Queensland 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 Multi-Class Auburn’s Timothy Hodge (S9) notched up another gold medal, touching in 1:03.74 (886 points) to overcome tough competition in New Zealand’s Jesse Reynold’s (S9) who placed second in 1:05.88 (802 points) and Auburn teammate Ricky Betar (S14) who snared bronze in 1:05.03 (757 points).