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My Top Moments of the Paralympic Games So Far

The London 2012 Paralympic Games are now more than half done for another year. There have been a number of sensational performances including proimising results from up and coming competitors in the Paralympic arena. Australia stands fourth in the medal tally with 16 gold, thirteen silver and 19 bronze, behind China in 1st on 46 gold, Great Britain in 2nd on 19 and Russia in 3rd with 16 gold like Australia, but more silver. We look almost set for a top 5 finish which is excellent given the stiff competition we’ve faced, but we are certain to finish top 7 with Germany having to make up a significant gap without Australia winning anymore gold just to be on even terms.

The first amazing performance is actually an amazing effort across a number of events. Maddison Elliott in the Australian swimming team is competing in her first Paralympic Games and that’s just as well, given that she’s just 13 years old. The up and coming swimmer from the Hunter Valley has just claimed her first ever Paralympic gold medal as a part of the women’s 4x100m combined 34 point relay overnight London time. This comes after Maddison became the youngest ever Paralympic silver medallist and earlier claimed a bronze medal in the pool.

The next amazing moment comes from the relatively well-known three-time Paralympian, Matthew Cowdrey, for whom history beckons as the greatest ever Paralympian Australia has produced. Matthew Cowdrey yesterday equalled that mark in the men’s combined 34 point 4x100m freestyle relay, moving to 10 gold medals.

Next up, who could go past Jacqueline Freney who is the single biggest medal winner of any competitor at these 2012 Paralympics. The competitor from the S7 and SM 7 classification was the anchor leg of the women’s combined 34 point 4x100m freestyle relay and also just won gold in the 10om freestyle for her class.

Finally, to the most talked about and debated upset of the 2012 Paralympics. Yes, just about everyone on the planet has heard about it, Oscar Pistorius being beaten into 2nd in the T44 200m at the track. The hot favourite was beaten by Brazilian Alan Oliveira in the closing stages of the race with the relative unknown eclipsing the almost unbackable Pistorius. Immediately Oscar Pistorius questioned the win when interviewed for television and the win has sent the sporting world into a frenzied debate again over the use of the prosthetic blades.

Those are just four of the most interesting, exhilarating, inspiring and in the case of the last example, controversial moments. But there are still 6 days left which promise to bring more amazing performances including, hopefully from our wheelchair basketball teams, the wheelchair rugby team. Expect more gold medal exploits in the pool too, perhaps with Matt Cowdrey eclipsing Tim Sullivan’s combined Paralympic gold medal haul across his career. With that much time left, there is still plenty of opportunities for more gold, silver and bronze.

What I Would Rather be Watching in London This Year

London has all the major international sporting athletes and attention descending on it in under 200 days, for two weeks of intense sporting competition equal to nothing in depth and breadth. The 2012 London Olympic Games begin in just 126 days, running for two weeks from the 27th of July-12th of August at and in the vicinity of historic English sites. Our prospects look better than they did just 12 months ago with some of our swimmers putting in very strong performances at the Australian Swimming Championships which came to an end last night in Adelaide. Other athletes in different sports, including Sally Pearson in athletics also add to medal promise of our Australian Olympic team.

But it is our Paralympic athletes in the pool that I will be watching when the Paralympics commence in London in only 159 days at the same venues as their Olympic counterparts. Our swimmers with a disability have shown over the past week of competition that they have what it takes to not only win more gold medals, but to also break more world records in the process.

Over the whole Australian Swimming Championships, Paralympic hopefuls broke an astonishing 25 world records in striving to make the team for the London 2012 Paralympic Games. How many did our Olympic athletes achieve? Zip, donuts. That’s not to say that our Olympic medal prospects are bad, they are not. The men’s team has strengthened much over the 4 years since the last Olympics from China, with stars like James Magnussen agonisingly close to achieving world-beating times and our men’s and women’s relay teams looking as strong as ever.

It will however be our Elite Athletes with a Disability that lead the way in London in the “real Olympics” with 25 world records surely converting into a gold medal in at least a bare majority of these events come the Paralympics later this year.

Our swimmers to compete in the Games are far from household names and they should have at least been mentioned in a breath of news coverage of the disastrous comeback campaigns of the likes of Ian Thorpe et al. Names to watch include Matthew Cowdrey, Prue Watt, Ellie Cole, Michael Anderson, Kayla Clarke, Jacqueline Freney and Blake Cochrane to name just some of our gold, let alone broader medal hopes.

These swimmers will now head back to the pool after perhaps a short break to refresh and refocus their minds on the big task of stepping up another level in London in just months. They will go in knowing that if they keep their focus and training is maintained and they stay injury-free that their chances are very strong of replicating the amazing efforts over the last week and a bit that have gone disgracefully unreported as is unfortunately the case on a too regular basis. I know I would rather watch our Paralympic swimmers, but I love the sport, so I will be watching both, hoping that our Olympic swimmers really do show up to compete and smash the world. The difference is, with our Paralympians, I don’t need to hope.

Results for Swimmers With a Disability for Wednesday 21st of March

Tonight was the second last night of competition in the pool at the Australian Swimming Championships from Adelaide. This means that there are now even fewer opportunities to make the Paralympic and Olympic teams for the London 2012 Games.

WOMEN’S 100m BUTTERFLY

1Amanda Fowler S14 1:11.56

2 Prue Watt S13 1:08.39

3 Sarah Rose S6 1:34.70

4 Teigan Van Roosmalen S13 1:08.89

5 Ellie Cole S9 1:11.48

6 Katherine Downie S10 1:12.64

7 Madeleine Scott  S9 1:13.23

8 Maddi Elliott S8 1:20.06

 

MEN’S 100m  BUTTERFLY

1 Timothy Antalfy S13 54.92

2 Mitchell Kilduff S14 1:01.18

3 Matthew Cowdrey S9 1:00.76

4 Daniel Fox S14 1:02.09

5 Brendan Hall S9 1:01.58

6 Aaron Rhind S6 1:14.19

7 Sam Bramham  S9 1:02.24

8 Andrew Pasterfield S10 1:00.05

Swimmers with a Disability Results for Tuesday 20th of March

WOMEN’S 50m BACKSTROKE

1 Taylor Corry S14 32.64

2 Esther Overton S1 1:13.06

3 Maddi Elliott S8 38.55

4 Katherine Downie S10 33.37

5 Katrina Porter S7 41.49

6 Teneale Houghton S15 33.34

7 Amanda Fowler S14 35.08

8 Kara Leo S14 35.50

 

MEN’S 50m BACKSTROKE

1 Timothy Antalfy S13 28.20

2 Sean Russo S13 29.13

3 Michael Anderson S10 28.60

4 Michael Auprince S9 29.83

5 Mitchell Kilduff S14 31.11

6 Daniel Fox S14 31.19

7 Joshua Chapman S15 29.12

8 Jeremy McClure S12 31.01

 

WOMEN’S 200M INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY

1 Kayla Clarke S14 2:33.00

2 Katherine Downie S10 2:34.21

3 Jacqueline Freney S7 2:57.19

4 Teigan Van Roosmalen 2:37.19

5 Prue Watt S13 2:37.64

6 Ellie Cole S9 2:38.12

7 Amanda Fowler S14 2:44.89

8 Teneale Houghton S15 2:37.33

 

MEN’S 200m INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY

1 Matthew Cowdrey S9 2:14.76

2 Matthew Levy S7 2:39.11

3 Rick Pendleton S10 2:16.00

4 Jeremy Tidy S10 2:18.07

5 Mitchell Kilduff S14 2:25.30

6 Brendan Hall S9 2:23.01

7 Matthew Haanappel S6 2:56.24

8 Jay Dohnt S7 2:49.71

Swimmers with a Disability Results for 19th of March

MEN’S 100m FREESTYLE

1 Daniel Fox S14 54.38

2 Matthew Cowdrey S9 55.20

3 Timothy Antalfy S13 52.93

4 Mitchell Kilduff S14 55.71

5 Matthew Levy S7 1:01.67

6 Brendan Hall S9 57.21

7 Andrew Pasterfield S10 53.33

8 Sam Bramham S9 58.21

According to a tweet by Matthew Cowdrey he swam a PB in this event which means that he achieved a world record, which is great news in a Paralympic year.

WOMEN’S 100m FREESTYLE

1 Jacqueline Freney S7 1:08.03

2 Taylor Corry S14 1:02.05

3 Kayla Clarke S14 1:02.47

4 Katherine Downie S10 1:02.88

5 Ellie Cole S9 1:03.73

6 Maddi Elliott S8 1:10.78

7 Teneale Houghton S15 1:01.28

8 Kara Leo S14 1:06.44

Jacqueline Freney swam a world record time in this event so congratulations to her and good luck at the London Paralympics!

Swimmers with a Disability Results for Sunday 18th of March

WOMEN’S 100m BREASTROKE

1 Prue Watt SB13 1:21.37

2 Tanya Huebner SB6 1:42.79

3 Amanda Fowler SB14 1:23.79

4 Kayla Clarke SB14 1:24.54

5 Teigan Van Roosmalen SB13 1:24.54

6 Katherine Downie SB9 1:26.36

7 Madeleine Scott SB9 1:27.24

8 Dianne Saunders SB7 1:47.17

MEN’S 100m BREASTSTROKE

1 Blake Cochrane SB7 1:19.06

2 Matthew Levy SB7 1:23.86

3 Matthew Cowdrey SB8 1:10.07

4 Ahmed Kelly SB3 1:56.05

5 Grant Patterson SB2 2:20.11

6 Richard Eliason SB14 1:10.07

7 Rick Pendleton SB9 1:10.89

8 Jay Dohnt SB6 1:30.68

The winning effort by Blake Cochrane was also a world record in his classification.

Swimmers with a Disability Results for Friday 16th of March

The second day of events at the Australian Swimming Championships, doubling as the Olympic and Paralympic selection trials has just concluded in Adelaide.

Both the men and women competed in 50 metres freestyle.

WOMENS 50m FREESTYLE

1 Kayla Clarke S14 28.66

2 Taylor Corry S14 28.87

3 Annabelle Williams S9 29.63

4 Jacqueline Freney S7 32.31

5 Kara Leo S14 29.58

6 Esther Overton S3 1:13.58

7 Katherine Downie S10 29.03

8 Prue Watt S13 28.39

The gold medal effort of Kayla Clarke was also rewarded with a world record.

MENS 50m FREESTYLE

1 Mitchell Kilduff S14 24.84

2 Daniel Fox S14 25.12

3 Matthew Cowdrey S9 25.28

4 Andrew Pasterfield S10 24.28

5 Matthew Levy S7 28.75

6 Blake Cochrane S8 27.78

7 Matthew Haanappel S6 31.35

8 Michael Auprince S9 26.99

The winning effort of Mitchell Kilduff earned him a world record as did the bronze medal performance of Daniel Fox. Matthew Cowdrey’s exploits earned in this event also earned him a world record! Congratulations to Mitchell, Daniel and Matt!

Swimmers with a Disability Results for Thursday 15th of March

A change of pace now and a much needed focus on the results of our swimmers with a disability who are vying for selection in what are termed the “real Olympics”, otherwise known as the Paralympic Games.

From tonight I will publish a summary of results in each multi-class AWD event daily with a mind to getting you acquainted with some of our Paralympic stars and budding champions, people who struggle for media attention, but train just as hard and not only that, have to overcome their impairment too.

First an explanation of the results and how they work as they are very different to those for the Olympic trial events. Athletes are divided into classes relating to their level and type of disability, be it a physical or intellectual impairment.

People with a physical disability are classed from S1-10, with S1 being the most impaired and S10 the least.

Those in classifications S11-13 have visual impairments, with S13 the least visually impaired.

S14 is for people with an intellectual impairment.

S15 is for deaf or hearing impaired athletes.

S16 For those who have had an organ or bone transplant.

Athletes are also classified into SB group for breastroke and SM for medley and their rating can differ from stroke to stroke depending on their physical and anatomical ability to perform the functions of each.

Swimmers in multi-class events at the trials compete against the world record time for their classification with the 8 closest to their respective world records making the final.

In the final the 3 closest swimmers to a world record for their respective classification win the corresponding gold, silver and bronze medals.

 

FEMALE 100m BACKSTROKE

1 Kayla Clarke S14 1:10.44

2 Ellie Cole S9 1:10.71

3 Taylor Corry S14 1:11.09

4 Jacqueline Freney S7 1:25.22

5 Katrina Porter S7 1:26.08

6 Teneale Houghton S15 1:11.75

7 Katherine Downie S10 1:11.43

8 Kara Leo S14 1:16.20

Kayla Clarke was 12 seconds faster than the qualifying time expected of her in the S14 classification for intellectually impaired swimmers.

 

MENS 100m BACKSTROKE

1 Michael Anderson S10 1:01.35

2 Matthew Cowdrey S9 1:02.78

3 Grant Patterson S3 2:00.48

4 Michael Auprince S9 1:04.31

5 Sean Russo S13 1:01.94

6 Andrew Pasterfield S10 1:03.53

7 Daniel Fox S14 1:06.00

8 Jeremy Tidy S10 1:05.27

Michael Anderson and Matthew Cowdrey were  over 5 seconds quicker than the qualifying time needed to qualify for the Australian team to compete at the London Paralympics.

Grant Patterson was just over 4 seconds from his world record time.

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