2018 in Review: Para swimming at CommonwealthsHome heroes and a world record holder shine in Australia 17 Dec 2018
Gold Coast 2018 was the first multi-sport event since the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games and the biggest Commonwealth Games to date in terms of Para sports events.
Twelve Para swimming races took place from 5 to 10 April at the Optus Aquatic Centre. The home fans had a lot to celebrate but it was an English swimmer who shone brightest on day one.
Tom Hamer broke the world record in the men’s 200m freestyle S14 clocking 1:55.88 – a record the same Hamer will smash again five months later in the European Championships in Dublin, Ireland.
“It’s pretty incredible to be the first world record of the meet. I’m super pleased. I got a silver in 2014 and it’s amazing to see how much I’ve progressed in four years,” Hamer said.
Aussie swimmers took gold in seven out of the 12 races with Timothy Disken and Lakeisha Patterson bagging a pair each.
Disken won the men’s 100m freestyle S9 – in which he is the current Paralympic champion – and the men’s 100m breaststroke SB8.
The 22-year-old competed in Gold Coast just six months after he was laid in a coma in Canada and had to undergo brain surgery.
“I’ve surprised myself with how well I’ve bounced back. It has been very special,” Disken said after his victories.
Patterson clinched gold in the women’s 50m freestyle S8 and 100m freestyle S9.
Pascoe shines again
New Zealand star Sophie Pascoe was the other swimmer to leave Gold Coast with a pair of gold medals matching the results from her first Commonwealth Games in Glasgow 2014.
The nine-time Paralympic champion first won the women’s 200m individual medley SM10. She collapsed after the race, and at first thought she had broken a finger, but then returned two days later to clinch another victory in the women’s 100m breaststroke SB9 – just 0.72 ahead of Australia’s Paige Leonhardt.
There were three more victories for the home crowd to celebrate with Matthew Levy (men’s 50m freestyle S7), Brenden Hall (men’s 100m backstroke S9) and Jesse Aungles (men’s 200m individual medley SM8).
England’s Alice Tai in the women’s 100m backstroke S9 and Eleanor Robinson in the women’s 50m butterfly S7 completed the list of gold medal winners in Australia.