“It is shocking. There are so many athletes that are better than me. I expected to come top 10 but not to win.”
Teenage star Louise Fiddes is the new big name on the international Para swimming scene.
Great Britain’s 17-year-old became the women’s World Para Swimming World Series champion after glittering performances in her home meeting of Sheffield and the series finale in Berlin, Germany.
“So proud; I cannot believe I won,” said Fiddes, who took the title with 4,041 points. The scores for the overall rankings are calculated by adding up the swimmers' two best point scores achieved in two different World Series events.
Her achievement is even more remarkable considering the swimmers that she beat to the title. Canada’s three-time Paralympic champion Aurelie Rivard (3,956) came in second and Netherlands’ Rio 2016 bronze medallist Chantalle Zijderveld (3,952) was third.
USA’s multiple-Paralympic and world champion Jessica Long (3,932) and Italy’s five-time Mexico City 2017 champion Carlotta Gilli followed them in fourth and fifth place, respectively.
“It is shocking. There are so many athletes that are better than me. I expected to come top 10 but not to win,” Fiddes added.
The youngster even set a world record of 2:42.45 in the women’s 200m breaststroke SB14 in the last World Series event in Berlin. “I did not expect all this to happen so quickly,” she said.
But Fiddes has no time to celebrate as the World Para Swimming Allianz European Championships are approaching fast. The continental competition is set to take place in Dublin, Ireland, between 13 and 19 August.
“They are my next goal. I would like to win three medals, no matter the colour,” Fiddes said.
Further ahead, she knows competing at her first Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, in 2020 is no longer a distant dream. “I would love to be there. I am excited, such a great experience. I have spoken to Ellie Simmonds and she says during a Games you should not get nervous and enjoy the experience.
“But I would most probably get nervous.”
The full rankings from the World Series are available on World Para Swimming’s website.