Australia made the most of their home waters to top the medals table in the season opening World Para Swimming World Series that concluded on Sunday (16 February) at Melbourne Sports Centre – MSAC.
Nineteen-year-old Timothy Hodge was responsible for three of Australia’s 16 gold medals, including a triple podium in the men’s 50m backstroke multi-class (30.08) alongside Rod Welsh and Harrison Vig.
“It’s a really good feeling to come out here, do some good times, produce some good swims and even better to get a couple of gold medals. It’s really important to get these things right heading into Tokyo,” said Hodge.
Hodge-Welsh-Vig was not the only Australian podium sweep. In the women’s 200m freestyle multi-class Madeleine McTernan (2:16.98) got her second medal in the Series and shared the podium with Jade Lucy and Taylor Corry.
The Melbourne 2020 World Series had multi-class races, where athletes from all classifications competed in the same event.
The results were provided by the Multi-Class Point Score, based on the World Record times for each class, which gives a simplified way to measure and compare performances.
New blood, new gold for USA
After losing her vision in 2018, Anastasia Pagonis took part in her first Para swimming meet in December. Melbourne was her World Series debut and a golden one.
Pagonis, popularly known as Tas, claimed two golds to leave Australia as the biggest winner from the US team.
The first gold came on Friday, day one of competition, in the women’s 400m freestyle multi-class where she clocked 5:18.12.
She took her second victory on Sunday in the women’s 200m individual medley multi-class with a time of 2:54.23.
USA Team was represented by eight athletes and finished with three golds, two silver and two bronzes.
The narrowest win a Kiwi win
New Zealand’s ten-time Paralympic champion Sophie Pascoe took gold in the closest race of Melbourne 2020.
She beat Australia’s Tiffany Thomas by just two points to win the women’s 50m breaststroke multi-class (36.05). New Zealand’s Nikita Howarth finished third.
Pascoe also bagged another gold in the women’s 50m backstroke.
“Raced in four splash and dash races leaving with two golds, one silver and more to work on. It’s so good to be back racing again! Next up, Nationals in six weeks,” Pascoe posted on social media.
Howart in the women’s 100m breaststroke multi-class (1:33.81) and Cameron Leslie in the men’s 150m individual medley SM4 (2:37.76) were the other Kiwi winners in Australia.
The World Series now move to Europe with Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy hosting the competition from 27 February to 1 March.