Sunday, April 11, 2021

Clegg signs off in World Record breaking style

Stephen Clegg saved his best for last with a World Record breaking performance in the final race of the British Para-Swimming International Meet, the MC 100m butterfly.

The S12 Edinburgh University athlete, who won silver in the event at the World Para Swimming World Championships in London in 2019, was was just short of the British Record after the heats posting a time of 57.42. For the final he powered his way over the two lengths of the pool to take the touch in a time of 56.75 for 1004 points.

Speaking after the race, Clegg said,

“I am buzzing from that swim. In my head I wanted to go a bit quicker, but a world record is a world record and it’s a really great starting point for the rest of the season. It is my first real race of the season so I think there is only more to build on. The trick now is to not get too caught up with that world record, keep composed and start again.”

The record itself has stood since the 2013 IPC Swimming World Championships in Montreal. Clegg said of chasing the record down,

“Obviously everyone wants to try and be on top. That top end of the S12 100m fly has always been licking at the heels of that world record so obviously in my head I’ve always wanted to catch it, but my focus has been more around building the model that will work towards it, rather than focus on the record itself. My coach Chris (Chris Jones) and I have been working on that back end.  All the work I’ve been doing is about that back end so with that result it’s definitely moving in the right direction and hopefully there is more to come.”

Clegg finished by saying,

“From here I’ll take a few days and then reset. The end goal isn’t world records it is the Paralympic Games and as great as it is to have a world record, the target is that gold in Tokyo.”

Jack Milne S14 (Dundee City Aquatics) was in the same final and finished sixth overall in 1:02.73.

In the women’s event Toni Shaw S9 (University of Aberdeen Performance Swim) finished third overall in a time of 1:09.56.

Abby Kane finished her competition in the MC 50m freestyle final. The 17-year old University of Stirling athlete improved on her heat time, taking the touch on 30.52. Earlier in the day, Oliver Carter S10 (University of Stirling), broke Paul Noble’s long standing (1996) Scottish Record in his 100m butterfly heat, powering home in a time of 1:05.43.

Paul Wilson, Disability Performance Development Manager, Scottish Swimming, said of the performances of the Scottish athletes,

“This has been an exceptional meet under the circumstances, and I’d like to thank British Swimming and the volunteers for running an excellent event.

“I’ve been particularly encouraged by some of the results from the Scottish swimmers; it has been good to see youngsters like Gavin Roberts and Jack Milne race to PBs, while a number of our senior athletes, continue to post consideration times for Tokyo. The team spirit the athletes and coaches have shown one another and the unity of the group has been particularly pleasing to see.”

One of the less experienced members of the group who travelled down from Scotland was 19 year old Jack Milne. Talking about his preparation for the event and the experience itself, he said,

“Overall I’m very thankful to be back swimming. I am fortunate to be racing in such a great pool, it is well controlled and a good environment to be in. This is my second competition of the year and I am just grateful to be here.”

With lockdown restrictions still in place across Scotland, Milne is currently travelling to Aberdeen several times a week to train with the University of Aberdeen Performance Swim Team. He said,

“It’s quite bizarre having to travel an hour and twenty minutes just to get to a pool, then an hour and twenty home again. I don’t even have access to a gym in Tayside where I live. But there are a lot of restrictions everywhere and I appreciate that many people can’t swim right now so I feel privileged just to be in a pool. But to say it is easy, its not, but I won’t complain, it is what I want to be doing.”

Talking about the post race analysis for this meet, Milne continued,

“We analyse the swim and agree areas we can work on either in Dundee or in Aberdeen, and because of that, when you go into a final you know what you need to improve. So when I go back to Dundee from here, I’ve got information to take with me so the next time I swim the weaknesses become stronger.”

Surrounded by world class athletes in Sheffield, Milne finished by saying,

“I’ve learned that even with all the Covid restrictions everyone is fully committed to race hard; some people have got PBs here and under the circumstance of the last year, that’s just fantastic.  Everyone here is so supportive of each other and that is inspiring me to work hard towards Paris is 2024. I know I have a lot of work to do, but I want to push my limits and stand alongside the world class athletes on the British Para-Swimming Team.”

Click HERE to watch the livestream and catch every heat and final from #BPSIM21.

Results from the Meet can be found HERE.