Thursday, February 17, 2022

World Series Medals for Clegg, Lawlor and Shaw

Stephen Clegg, Louis Lawlor and Toni Shaw helped the GBR team get off to a strong medal winning start on the opening day of the Citi Para Swimming World Series, incorporating the British Para-Swimming Meet 2022, which is taking place at the Aquatics Centre in Aberdeen.

S12 athlete Clegg, who is coached at Edinburgh University by Chris Jones, won silver in the 100m freestyle World Series final, touching home in 54.00 for 837 points. His GBR team-mate, Jordan Catchpole S14, just edged him out to take gold in 53.92 for 872 points, while Louis Lawlor S14 won bronze in a time of 54.71 for 835 points.

Clegg, who won bronze in the event at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo last year, said of his performance,

“It feels pretty good to be back racing. I wasn’t really sure how the results would pan out this weekend. Long course season is very different, there’s not been huge amounts of opportunities to swim long course yet, so I’m pleased with that overall. Obviously I’m a bit annoyed I didn’t go under 54 but that’s just the way it goes sometimes. I’m working on some technical elements in training so I’m trying to execute them in the race and I’m getting there.

“I always enjoy multi-classification finals, I think it’s the best way to run the meet especially at national level and world series level. Not everyone in your classification is going to show up so it’s good to race against the likes of Jordan Catchpole. I had a good race with him, whenever we go head-to-head it’s always a close one.”

Speaking about the prospect of both a World Championships and Commonwealth Games later in the year, Clegg said,

“To focus on both the Worlds and the Commonwealth Games is quite interesting. I’m working on that 50m freestyle a bit more and this meet will be my first shot of it this year, the first shot of it for a few years actually.

“I’m within the qualification standard for the 100m free at the Worlds, so that’s taken the pressure off a bit. I’m not focussing on any particular event at this stage, my mindset is about enjoying training and let the performances come from that.”

Conner Morrison finished 8th in the world series final.

In the multi-classification final for other GBR swimmers, Dylan Bleakley (East Lothian Swim Team) and Matthew Scott (Bridge of Don) finished 4th and 7th respectively.

In the women’s World Series 100m freestyle final, Toni Shaw S9 secured her first medal of the meet, with bronze in a time of 1:03.53 (833 points). Gold went to Tanja Scholz of Germany who broke the S4 world record with a time of 1:25.10 (1011 points). Silver went to S12 Paralympic bronze medallist, Hannah Russell, who finished in 1:01.85 for 842 points.

Shaw, who is coached by Josh Williamson at University of Stirling said of her performance,

“I’m quite happy with my swims today and hopefully they’ll get faster as the year goes on. But for the first big competition of the year, I’m happy with my performances.”

Speaking about the prospect of both a World Championships and a Commonwealth Games, Shaw said,

“Having two big international meets this year is really exciting. We all train to race so having two big opportunities to race is fantastic and obviously the Commonwealth Games is extra special as I get to race for Scotland.”

Despite having pre-qualified for the World Championships through her bronze medal (400m freestyle) at the Tokyo Paralympic Games last year, Shaw still takes nothing for granted. She said,

“For me I always go into a race still thinking I need to quality for the meet. I want to post the qualifying times in the heats and finals, so I really feel that I’ve earned my place on that team. I did the times today in both the 100m free and 200m IM so it makes me feel happier.”

On moving to Stirling, Shaw continued,

“It is a big change being at the University of Stirling, not just in swimming, but moving away from home too, so Josh (Williamson, coach) has encouraged me to take things slowly, ease myself back into things. I’m really happy with the programme and how things are going.”

In the multi-classification GBR final for 100m freestyle, S13 athlete, Natalia Chociaj (Aberdeen Dolphins), finished fifth overall in a time of 1:11.48 for 516 points.

Shaw went onto a fifth place finish in the 200m IM world series final, while in the GBR multi-classification 200m IM final, Stirling team-mate, Abby Kane  S13) took the honours.

In the men’s 200m IM World Series final Louis Lawlor SM14 claimed his second medal, with silver in a time of 2:18.44 for 790 points). Iceland’s Robert Isak Jonsson SM14 won gold in 2:16.91 (817 points) while Belgium’s Aymeric Parmentier SM14 won bronze in 2:21.44 (741 points).

Scott Quin, SM14, and Jack Milne, SM14 finished in 5th and 7th place respectively.

Lawlor, who is coached by Ian Wright at City of Glasgow Swim Team, said of his performances,

“I couldn’t be happier. I haven’t been training as well as I thought I would, so I’ve really surprised myself so far with how I’ve swum. After Tokyo I had a break from swimming, and when I came back I’ve had to work so much harder, lose a bit of weight and really push through the hard sets. Swimming is such a tough sport, it is so physically demanding, but my performances tonight have given me the confidence to keep pushing on and see what else I can achieve.”

In the multi-classification final for GBR swimmers Dylan Bleakley (East Lothian Swim Team) finished 8th.

The racing is being streamed live on the British Swimming Facebook and YouTube pages. The action can be followed ac

Results from the meet can be found HERE.