Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Shaw, Clegg safely through to freestyle finals

Toni Shaw and Stephen Clegg both eased into the final of their respective freestyle events on day seven of the Tokyo Paralympics swimming competition.

University of Aberdeen swimmer, Toni Shaw, was in action in the S9 100m freestyle. The 18-year old, who is coached by Gregor McMillan, went in the first of three heats, but her time of 1:03.59 was more than enough, and saw her qualify second fastest for the final.

After her heat, she said,

“I’m quite happy with the swim, it’s a really competitive race and there’s two more heats to go, so I’m just watching and hoping to make it to the final.

“I’ve been mostly training for the 400 so after that was finished, I had to tell myself that it was time to become a sprinter, and I’ve been trying to do just that over the last couple of days.”

Speaking about the atmosphere amongst the team and within the apartments, Shaw said,

“Apartment 407, it’s a lovely apartment to be part of. We all cheer each other on and it is just making this experience all the better. I am so lucky to be sharing with one of my best friends, it makes it all very special.”

Stephen Clegg looked satisfied with his performance in the S12 100m freestyle. The Edinburgh University athlete, who is coached by Chris Jones, finished fastest qualifier for the final, with a time of 53.84.

He said of his performance,

“I am actually really pleased with that. The time is really good, it’s just outside my best and for early in the season it felt like a nice controlled swim as well, so yes, a really good start to the day and hopefully I can bring it on a little bit more. I had a few mistakes in the race, my turn was a bit short, so there’s a bit more room for improvement.

“I’m one of those swimmers that benefits from going well, going fast in the heat. I like to work on things in my races and improve on them in the final. I didn’t get a heat swim for my backstroke earlier in the week and had I had one I might have been able to go a little bit quicker. I wanted to give it a good go this morning and see where I can improve on for tonight.”

Speaking about his number one ranking after the heat, Clegg continued,

“Lane 4 for the final, that’s where I like, I want to be in the mix of everyone and I want to have the fast guys around me. I don’t know where I can place in this, but I’ll be happy with any sort of placing as long as the time is good, and I execute my profile really well.

“The backstroke was a bit of surprise, it’s not something I’ve worked on much. Freestyle I’ve worked on a little bit more, but the fly is my main event. I think I’ve gone through the week quite nicely; I’ve kept my head pretty level, and I’ll get ready for that fly on Friday.

Clegg’s freestyle final is scheduled for 1721 (0921); Shaw’s final is schedule for 1914 (1114).

Full details on all the ParalympicsGB swimmers, go to the British Swimming website.

The start lists, schedule and results can be found HERE.

Watch live coverage across Channel 4's platforms, including More4 and paralympics.channel4.com