World Para Swimming World Series: Australia Wins 4 Gold

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Australia added four gold, six silver and six bronze medals to its tally on the final night of the 2019 World Para Swimming World Series at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre.

In the first event of the night – the Men’s 50m Butterfly Multi-Class – Australians landed the trifecta. Finishing in a time of 27.75, Rio Paralympian Joshua Alford (S14) won gold, while Nicholas Layton (S15) from Firbank Aquastars received silver and Harrison Vig (S9) took home the bronze.

After a breakout year in 2018, which saw him win silver at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, Timothy Hodge (S9) claimed two gold medals for Australia, adding the Men’s 50m Backstroke Multi-Class and the Men’s 200m IM Multi-Class titles to his list of achievements.

Recording a time of 30.27 in the breaststroke event, 18-year-old Hodge beat Rod Welsh (S10) from Yarra Plenty Swimming Club and fellow Australian teammate Alford (S14), while also toppling Queenslander Liam Schluter (SM14) in the 200m IM Multi-Class.

Striving to carry momentum he gained from last year’s Para Pan Pacifics in Cairns, Hodge was pleased with his performance and said he is aiming to improve on his skills in the pool as the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games draws closer.

“Yeah I’m really happy, I went into this final just hoping for a decent time and I managed to get a small PB so I’m happy,” Hodge said. “It’s been great racing here, I’ve never actually raced in this outdoor pool before, so it’s been a great experience. Preparing for the next Paralympics, I’ll be working on the small stuff like skills to try and perfect my individual race leading up to Tokyo and hopefully I’ll be fit and ready to go.”

Although Schluter (S14) fell short in the Men’s 200m IM, he made up for it in the Men’s 200m Freestyle Multi-Class, adding a gold medal to his tally of silver and bronze. In the same freestyle event, 19-year-old Jack Ireland also came third to receive bronze.

One of Australia’s youngest elite Para-swimmers, 15-year-old Ruby Storm (S14), collected a silver medal in the Women’s 200m Freestyle Multi-Class event, edging out fellow compatriot Jade Lucy (S14).

Meanwhile emerging swimmer Madeleine McTernan (S14) received a bronze medal in the Women’s 50m Backstroke Multi-Class and Tiffany Thomas Kane (SM7) added another medal to her Series total, claiming silver in the Women’s 200m IM Multi-Class event.

In the Women’s 50m Butterfly Multi-Class race, four Aussies finished in the top five, with Victorian Paralympian Emily Beecroft (S9) and 2012 London Paralympian Taylor Corry (S14) winning silver and bronze medals, respectively. The duo fell shy of New Zealand’s Sophie Pasoce, who recorded a second World Record time (28.15), while fellow Australians Madeleine Scott (S9) and Tiffany Thomas Kane (S7) rounded out the top five.

Across the course of the three-day series, Australia amassed nine gold, 15 silver and 14 bronze medals.

All eight events tonight were swum as multi-class races, meaning athletes from all classifications competed in the same event, with the Para-swimmer recording a time closest to their class world record crowned the winner.

The next stop for Australians in the World Para Swimming World Series is Singapore, which takes place in May.

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