Brits end IPC Worlds with three more golds
The British team scooped another three golds on the final day to end their 2013 IPC Swimming World Championships campaign in Montreal in emphatic style.
Stephanie Millward, Ellie Simmonds and the women’s 34pt 4x100m Medley Relay quartet were the champions on day seven, ensuring the team secured at least one gold on every day of the meet in Montreal.
With another four silvers and two bronzes arriving on the final night, the Brits finished third in the medal table on 55 – an improvement of two places since the London 2012 Paralympics.
Millward was one of the stars of the night, kicking off the evening with S9 100m Backstroke gold before swimming the backstroke leg as part of the world-record breaking Medley Relay quartet.
Teenager Amy Marren gave the European record holder a run for her money in the final but Millward held on to claim gold in 1:10.56 ahead of Marren’s personal best 1:10.98 for silver.
The pair turned from rivals to teammates for the final event of the day as they combined to each win their fourth golds of the meet in the 34pt 4x100m Medley Relay. Millward said:
"It’s been a crazy night and absolutely perfect – like a dream come true. The 100m Backstroke is something I’ve always wanted to win. I’ve come second at it at the Worlds and second at the Paralympics and it’s quite depressing always coming second and now I’ve got a gold to show off. Then to be part of that medley team which took six seconds off the world record, you can’t get better than that. It was fantastic."
"These Championships have been amazing and I don’t really want to go home to be honest. I’ve really enjoyed the past two weeks and had a lot of fun. Winning relay gold with these girls on the last night in a world record is the perfect way to finish."
Steph Slater and Claire Cashmore also played their part as the quartet knocked six seconds off their own world record to win gold in 4:46.21 – more than 13.30 seconds clear of Russia in silver.
Simmonds completed her hat-trick of Montreal golds with an emphatic performance in the S6 100m Freestyle.
While the scoreboard malfunctioned during the final, there was no doubt about the winner on the night as Simmonds touched more than a body-length clear of the field to defend her title and improve on her silver from last year’s Paralympic Games. Simmonds commented:
“I was quite nervous going into that final. I thought it was going to be tough but I was excited and thankfully I managed to touch first. I’ve had a great Championships and it feels great to have won my third gold here. It’s great to end my career with Billy [Pye, Simmonds’ coach] on a high and I know he’s going to be really happy with what I’ve done this Champs. I’m going to miss him but I’m looking forward to the future now working with Steve Bayley at Loughborough.”
James Crisp clocked a season’s best 1:03.83 to bag S9 100m Backstroke silver and continue his record of winning a medal at each of his five IPC World Championships.
The 30-year old had waited until the final day for his main event but his position on the podium was never in doubt as he fought a two-way battle for gold.
Australia’s Paralympic and defending World champion Matthew Cowdrey (1:03.23) eventually took the touch with Crisp 0.6 seconds back on 1:03.83. Crisp said:
“I could see Matt splashing as I was coming back so I knew I was in with a shout of a medal and thankfully on day seven I’ve finally got one. That’s my 20th World medal now but my backstroke hasn’t really been in form this year so I was a little nervous because I didn’t quite know what to expect. But I dug in deep and thankfully I managed to medal. The whole team has done so well this week so it’s nice to feel I’ve been invited to the party now."
Morgyn Peters also made the S9 100m Back final on his Worlds debut, finishing sixth in 1:06.15.
The Brits won four medals across the two SM14 200m Individual Medley finals with Dan Pepper, Ben Procter, Jessica-Jane Applegate and Chloe Davies all reaching the podium.
After qualifying sixth from the morning heats, 2009 European champion Pepper lowered his British record to bag silver in the final, clocking 2:18.30 for his first medal of the meet.
Procter finished on place behind his training partner at the 2009 Europeans and repeated the feat in Montreal, also landing his only medal of the Championships in a personal best 2:18.43.
Applegate stormed through the field in the final 50m freestyle leg of her final, turning fifth at the 150m mark but touching in a two-second PB for silver.
The 16-year old ultimately touched in 2:32.54 for her third medal of the Championships while 14-year old Davies made the podium for the first time on Worlds debut with a 2:32.83 effort for bronze.
Jack Thomas was also in action in the men’s SM14 200m IM, finishing sixth overall in 2:23.12 while Andy Mullen set 37.83 to place fifth in the S5 50m Freestyle.
Oliver Hynd broke his British S8 100m Backstroke record to lead off the men’s 34pt 4x100m Medley Relay quartet in 1:04.56 but the team of Hynd, Jack Bridge, James Hollis and Josef Craig were ultimately disqualified after touching fourth in 4:15.65.