On 30th April, Support through Sport UK headed to the final session of the British Para-Swimming International Meet.
Hosted at the Ponds Forge International Swimming Centre in Sheffield, the four-day event featured some of the world's best para-swimmers, who were all hoping to score big in the new World Series. The 2017 World Series is taking place across five European and American cities between March and July and is providing the swimmers with a chance to compete, and size each other up, ahead of the World Para Swimming Championships in Mexico City later this year.
The first race of the evening was the Women's S14 200m Freestyle, which had strong representation from Great Britain. Britain's Bethany Firth secured gold, coming in three seconds ahead of compatriot Jessica-Jane Applegate. Bronze went to Sweden's Pernilla Lindberg. It was a great meet for Firth as the night before she broke the world record in the 100m Fly.
In the Men's S14 200m, there was further success for Britain, with a win from Thomas Hamer. Despite fierce competition from Hong Kong's Wai Lock Tang, Hamer's strong start was a key factor in keeping Tang at bay. City of Manchester swimmer Hamer said: “I’m feeling really happy with that. This morning I cruised the heats to just get into the final. I am happy with the time although I do wish I had gone a little bit faster. But there’s room for improvement." There was also a bronze for Britain from Jordan Catchpole, who finished in 2:01.74.
In the Women's 400m Free, Rio 2016 star Ellie Robinson (S6) just lost out to Rebecca Meyers (S13) from the USA. In the tight race, Meyer's time equated to 877 points, compared to Robinson's 806. Britain's Maisie Summers-Newton (S6) took bronze and claimed 740 points.
In the Men's 400m Freestyle, Uzbekistan's Dmitry Horlin (S12) swam a superb 4:11.41 (=936 points). Britain claimed the silver and gold, thanks to strong performances by Lewis White (S9) and Jacob Leach (S8). It was White's third medal of the tournament.
The final two races of the championship were the Women's and Men's 50m Backstroke events, in which there was both a world and a British record. Suzanne Warren (S4) won the women's event and claimed the British record, coming in in a superb 57.90 and scoring 558 points. In the men's event, Arnost Petracek (S4, Czech Republic) swam 42.22, which gave him a massive 1,035 points and was a world best.