Thursday, June 16, 2022

Golden night in Madeira for Shaw

Toni Shaw held off a strong finish from her nearest rival to take the World Championship Crown for S9 400m freestyle on day five of the Para Swimming World Championships in Madeira.

Taking her own advice and blocking out any disappointment she may have felt after yesterday’s fourth place, Shaw hit the front from the off and looked strong throughout the race. This is the event in which she won a Paralympic bronze medal in Tokyo last year and Shaw was keen to add to her medal success.

Despite a blistering final 50m from Zsofia Konkoly (HUN), Shaw held on for the win in a time of 4:45.55. Konkoly had to settle for silver in 4:45.69, with Summer Schmit (USA) taking bronze in 4:51.47.

Shaw, who trains at the University of Stirling, said of her victory,

“I’m a bit shocked I’m not going to lie. It maybe wasn’t the quickest race but the touch was so close and I’m just really happy that I managed to get it.

“Last night was obviously difficult but I knew I had this today so I kind of had to put it out of my mind. On that last 50 I saw that I was being caught and I thought, ‘no, it’s not happening again, not today.’

“I knew the girl beside me has a really strong second half and I sometimes struggle on the last 100m, so I though if I got a good enough lead I might be able to hold her off.  I was breathing the other way down that last 50 but I could see her when my head was down and I knew she was catching me up. But, I had no idea just how close it was until I actually touched home.”

Stephen Clegg (Edinburgh University) continued his medal haul with silver in the S12 100m freestyle. Raman Salei (AZE) took the victory in 53.07, with Clegg and Maksym Veraksa (UKR) finishing together in 54.10 and 54.13 respectively.

Clegg said of his performance,

“I would have liked to have gone a bit quicker but that’s a little unrealistic given the prep I’ve had coming into this competition with illness and injury. It was a pretty good performance and not too far away from my best and to come away with a silver medal is something never to turn your nose up at.”

Ollie Carter (University of Stirling) finally made his GBR debut, anchoring home the Mixed 4x100m Freestyle 49pts Relay. The GBR team of Alice Tai, Maisie Summers Newton, James Hollis and Ollie Carter finished sixth and said of their performance,

Alice Tai: “I think that’s the second time I’ve swum since 2019. It’s really nice to be back and I’m so honoured I got put in the relay. I’m excited to see what the future holds.”

Maisie Summers Newton: “Relays only really come at this type of Meet so it’s a fab experience. It’s such a good team and we were so relaxed in the call room. I can’t wait to see what other relays GBR can produce.”

James Hollis: “I was so excited to race with these guys, they are friends as well as great swimmers. I just tried to leave everything in the pool for them.”

Ollie Carter: “I’m definitely the new kid on the block and I’m so grateful to race with such legends and to show them what I can do as well. While many of these guys are finishing off their meet I’m very excited to get started. It is my time to shine.”

Full schedules and results from Madeira 2022 can be found here.

Details on all GBR results can be found here.