Australia secured another two bronze medals on the fourth night of the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships at the London Aquatics Centre, courtesy of Rowan Crothers and the Mixed 4x100m Freestyle Relay S14 team.
In the final event of the night, the quartet of Ricky Betar, Taylor Corry, Ruby Storm and Liam Schluter powered to the wall in 3:51.60 to grab bronze just ahead of Brazil (3:52.91), who were right on their tails for the back end of the race. Betar made a solid start for the Aussies, while Corry and Storm held strong in the middle and Schluter anchored the team home. For rookies Betar and Storm, as well as 19-year-old Schluter, this marks their first world para championship medal.
The team were overjoyed after the race, embracing on pool deck with beaming smiles.
“It was excellent, the team were awesome and were very fast in the pool – what an amazing night it’s been,” an ecstatic Schluter said post-race.
Echoing Schluter’s excitement, Corry said she was proud to be part of the Dolphins team and represent her country.
“Being part of this team is an amazing feeling, we all got our first medal tonight at the meet and we’re so honoured to represent our country and every time we do, we try to make it proud.”
Great Britain won the gold in a world record time of 3:42.21, while Russia took the silver in 3:45.32.
Earlier in the evening, Crothers collected his second bronze medal at the world para champs, snatching third place and a podium position in the Men’s 100m Freestyle S10. His time of 51.47 – only two one hundredths of a second behind the silver medallist – was close to his personal best and is a testament to the hard work and commitment he’s showcased in the lead up to the event.
Such is his attitude to push himself and become the best athlete he can be, the 21-year-old couldn’t help but display a touch of disappointment post-race.
“Honestly I am a bit disappointed with that swim, I haven’t come here to win medals and break records, I’ve come here to do the best that I can and put a strong time on the board,” he said.
“I’m in the best form of my life right now, so to not produce it does kind of suck, but that’s the sport, sometimes all the cards will be in your favour and someone pulls out a royal flush, but you’ve just got to play the next hand.
“That’s going to be my focus for now, resetting and getting ready for the 4x100m relay at the end of the week and then from there reassessing what we need to do to get me to 49s for Tokyo.”
In the Women’s 100m Freestyle S10 final, young Bay & Basin swimmer Jasmine Greenwood – who is competing at her first World Para Swimming Championships – placed fifth in a new personal best time of 1:02.30, while in the Women’s 100m Breaststroke SB13, Jenna Jones finished sixth in 1:23.44.
Ben Popham and Blake Cochrane returned to the pool on Thursday night ready to race in the Men’s 400m Freestyle S8. Both with medals to their names this week – Popham a silver and Cochrane a bronze – the duo fought hard in fierce race that was dominated by those in lanes three and four. In the end, Popham placed fifth in a personal best time of 4:40.14 and Cochrane followed whiskers behind in 4:40.77 to finish sixth.
After the fourth night of the competition, Australia sits 16th on the medal table, with one gold, four silver and six bronze.
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