DSA Patrons triumph at IPC World Championships
Double Paralympic Champion Eleanor Simmonds gave the British Disability Swimming Team the perfect start to competition by knocking four seconds off her world record in the S6 400m Freestyle.
The World Championships kicked off with the S6 men’s and women’s 400m Freestyle. DSA patron Matt Whorwood got the Brits off to silver in the first race and the night just got better for the team as they took a total of ten medals.
With Mirjam de Koning-Peper pulling out of the race all eyes were on Simmonds to see if she could take any time off her own world record. The 400m Paralympic Champion didn’t disappoint as she took charge of the race early on and at the half-way point she turned with almost a ten second lead over the field.Simmonds began to race the clock and she pushed further ahead and as the race entered the final 50m she held a lead of almost 20 seconds.
The Swansea-based swimmer was crowned World Champion after knocking four seconds off her world record with a time of 5:27.64.
“I am so shocked with that,” Simmonds said. “The world record was always the aim for me but I didn’t expect to take that much of a chunk off it. I didn’t get a PB at the British Champs so I was hoping for it here.
“The plan for the race was to just go out as hard as I could. In the race I felt that I was racing it on my own and when I turned around to see that I had won it with a PB I was so happy.”
Matthew Whorwood got the British Team onto the medal table with the first swim of the evening. He took on Anders Olsson (Sweden) in the S6 400m Freestyle and the Brit pushed the world record holder on every stroke of the race.
Whorwood took the silver in a new personal best time of 5:10.09. Olsson won gold in 5:04.28 and bronze went to Yevheniy Bohodayko (Ukraine) in 5:13.23.
“What can I say? I have been putting lots of training into my Freestyle and I felt strong in that race,” Whorwood said. “It was a six second PB and a silver medal which is really down to the preparation and training that I have had. I have been doing some really tough sets but it paid off here.”
“There was an outstanding effort from Eleanor Simmonds to break the world record. She swam much of the race against the clock and to come out with that result is testament to the work that she is undertaking at the High Performance Centre in Swansea with her coach Billy Pye.
“The number of medals from the 400m is promising and it shows the strength and depth that we have in that event and which we can build on as we look toward London 2012.
The third day of competition saw the British Team, powered by British Gas, impress with seven gold medals and the British athletes followed that up with four more golds in the pool this evening.
Double Paralympic Champion Eleanor Simmonds won her third world title on day four in the women’s SM6 200m Individual Medley.
Simmonds lay in sixth place at the 100m point and knew that she had to stay with the leaders in order to be in contention for success in the race.
Through the Breaststroke leg Simmonds managed to use her skill to move up to third place and in the final 50m she impressed the crowd with her speed.
Simmonds powered through her Freestyle and took two seconds off the world record when she touched home in 3:09.24.
“That race was so hard,” Simmonds said. “I was so nervous before the race because I really wanted to go and win and get the record.
“I am really happy to be on top of the podium again. I went into it thinking that it was going to need a world record to win that race and to do that is great.”
DSA patron Eleanor Simmonds was one of three gold medalists for the British Disability Swimming Team on the penultimate day of competition at the IPC Swimming World Championships.
Louise Watkin and Dave Roberts were the other British swimmers that claimed a place on the top of the podium as the British Team moved their gold medal tally up to 15.
Simmonds went into the S6 100m Freestyle ranked in second place but kept her confidence as she stepped onto the blocks.
At the Beijing Paralympic Games, Simmonds stole the nation’s hearts with her emotional response to winning her first gold medal in the S6 100m Freestyle and she looked on track to add the world title in the final 25m of the race.
She turned in second place but showed her back end speed to take her fourth individual victory in a world record time of 1:15.97.
“I am on such a high right now,” Simmonds said. “I have won four gold medals and I am so happy. I haven’t broken that world record since 2009 and I feel really good to have done it here. It was good to come into the race and get the gold and back up my success from Beijing."
Well done Matt and Ellie the DSA and its members are very proud of you both.