Friday, September 13, 2019

Silver and Gold for Shaw on thrilling night of racing in London

Toni Shaw won her third and fourth medals of the London 2019 World Para Swimming Allianz Championships winning silver in the S9 400m Freestyle and gold as part of the world record breaking 34pts 4x100m medley relay.

Toni Shaw had predicted it would be a race for the silver and bronze medals in the S9 400m Freestyle final and the 16-year old was spot on. Lakeisha Patterson (AUS) was the runaway winner in the event, coming home to take the World Championship crown in a time of 4:38.29, but behind her, a great race between her team-mate, Ellie Cole and Shaw was unfolding.

Despite being on opposite sides of the pool, Cole and Shaw were well matched for pace with Shaw maintaining a slight advantage until the 100m mark. From there Shaw went for broke, powering home to secure silver in 4:43.20 while Cole won the bronze medal in a time of 4:45.56.

Afterwards it was clear that Shaw had enjoyed the final, she said:

“That was crazy. It was such a great race. Obviously to have the likes of Lakeisha (Patterson), Ellie Cole, Nuria (Marques Soto) in the same race it was just really exciting. I could only see Ellie on a few turns but I was trying not to look too much as I knew that wold slow me down.

“I’m really pleased with the place but my time, it’s just over my PB and I think I’m a bit hard on myself as I always want to go for a best time. Having someone like Lakeisha there pushes you on to go faster and motivate you.”

Speaking about the support she’s had from people back in her home town of Aberdeen Shaw said

“All my friends from school and my club are watching and I’ve been receiving lots of well done and good luck messages, it’s been so lovely.”

Shaw was back in action at the end of the night as she swam the butterfly leg of the 34pts 4x100m medley relay, joining team-mates Alice Tai, Brock Whiston and Stephanie Millward.

Tai swam the lead-off backstroke leg and handed over to Whiston, for whom this was her first competitive race of the Championships. Whiston was dominant in the breaststroke leg and passed onto Shaw a healthy lead. Shaw increased GBR’s lead further but anchor leg Stephanie Millward was not going to go easy as she powered down the final 50m to take the touch in 4:36.31, almost nine seconds inside the previous world record.

USA won silver in 4:58.39, while Spain won bronze in 5:00.51.

Tai said of the team performance:

“Relays are always super special, I’m proud of all three of the girls here, especially Brock who smashed her debut. It’s my 11th race so far but to contribute to a world record was fantastic.”

Whiston said of the experience:

“Every day I’ve been there, heats and finals, cheering them my team-mates on. Then to race with three amazing girls you couldn’t ask for anything more. To swim in front of this many people, I just can’t thank everyone enough.”

Shaw said of her leg:

“Being in the relay with these girls makes it much easier. Today has been amazing, so special, it means a lot. When I took over from Brock I just didn’t want to let them down.”

Millward finished and said:

“I feel so, so proud. I knew that we were going to be good, I even told people that I’d thought we’d break the world record tonight and to make sure they were here to cheer us on. I didn’t think we’d break it by that much but the team is wonderful and watch out for us in Tokyo.”

Stephen Clegg swam close to her personal best on his way to a seventh place finish in the S12 100m Freestyle final. He said of his performance,

I’m pretty happy with the time. I wasn’t thrilled with this morning, it was a bit too slow so tonight I wanted to take it out harder, which I think I did, and the result was close to my personal best.”

Live results and the event schedule can be found here and you can catch all the action on Channel 4 here.