Para-swimming World Championships: GB end Para-swimming Worlds with 19 golds

Para-swimming World Championships: GB end Para-swimming Worlds with 19 golds

Alice Tai (far right) teamed up with (left to right) Steph Millward, Brock Whiston and Toni Shaw to win 4x100m freestyle gold

Great Britain’s Alice Tai capped a superb week with her seventh gold at the Para-swimming World Championships.

Tai teamed up again with Steph Millward, Toni Shaw and Brock Whiston as the quartet won the 4x100m freestyle relay – their second relay title.

It was a fourth gold for Whiston, who had earlier won the SM8 100m breaststroke in a new world record.

There were also final-day golds for Reece Dunn (S14 100m butterfly) and Tully Kearney (S5 100m freestyle).

It means GB end the London meeting in second place on the medal table, behind Italy, with 19 gold medals.

“This is a great way to end the week,” 20-year-old Tai told BBC Sport. “To have two of the golds with these women is incredible and I’m super happy this is how it has ended.

The GB quartet were fourth going into the final leg, but Tai dug deep to overhaul Canada, the United States and China by the 350m mark and she held on to win by 0.74 seconds.

“I could just hear the crowd going crazy so I knew I just had to go and win it for us and for the country and I am so glad,” she went on.

“Nothing will ever compare to this competition for me.”

‘I’m a bit disappointed’

Whiston added: “To get to swim with these girls again is crazy. Freestyle isn’t my thing but now we have done that, I will definitely be focusing on it for Tokyo.”

The 22-year-old earlier clocked one minute 13.83 seconds to win the individual race, improving her own mark by 0.58secs, but said she wanted more.

“I’m a bit disappointed – I know I got the world record but I wanted to go 1:12 because that’s what I did in the medley relay on Thursday,” she explained.

“I know it’s there – it’s just finding areas I can improve on to see what we need to work on.

“You always want to go faster and find that bit extra, but it was a good swim.”

Reece Dunn won his third gold of the world championships in the S14 100m butterfly

Dunn, who like Whiston was making his debut appearance for GB, added to the individual freestyle and medley relay golds he won earlier in the competition.

His time of 54.46secs easily beat Japanese rival Dai Tokairin’s 55.72 set last year and the 23-year-old Plymouth athlete felt he had proved a point in London.

“It was amazing. I felt good going in and I knew I was on for a good time,” he said.

“I’ve waited three-and-a-half years from the Rio Olympic trials for a sub-55-second time, so I am very happy.

“I haven’t been this motivated for many years. Getting recognition with this team has helped and wearing a GB hat means a lot to me.”

‘How to manage my body’

Kearney’s dystonia condition had put her career in jeopardy

Kearney finished her campaign on a high with victory in the 100m freestyle to make it three golds, despite a disrupted build-up because of injury and illness.

Kearney, 22, won four golds at the 2015 Worlds in Glasgow as an S9 before her dystonia condition worsened, putting her whole swimming career in jeopardy and she was very satisfied with her London achievements.

“If I can do this on little training, it gives me a lot of confidence going forward,” she said.

“I’ve learned a lot about myself this week but the whole season has been a massive learning curve in how to manage my body.

“I always thought I would never be as successful as I was in Glasgow but these medals mean more to me than any other medal because I have had to work so much harder to get them.”

The team’s display in London has earned Great Britain 17 confirmed slots for next year’s Tokyo Paralympics, with more to come via other qualification methods.

And British Para-swimming performance director Chris Furber was delighted with the way the squad dealt with the pressure of a home event.

“To be challenging for the top of the medal table here has been fantastic,” he said. “We wouldn’t have dreamed of that four or five years ago.

“Everything we have done here is with Tokyo in mind, testing our processes to make sure we are in the best possible position for next year.”

Source link