Russell storms to first major title in Montreal
British teenager Hannah Russell landed her first major title with S12 100m Backstroke gold on the penultimate day of the 2013 IPC World Championships in Montreal to help boost the Brit’s medal tally to 46.
Amy Marren also won gold and Susie Rodgers silver as the British Gas GBR Disability Swimming Team moved to third in the medal table ahead of tomorrow’s final day.
Russell has been one of the team’s most consistent performers in Canada with three silvers and a bronze across her first four events.
And the S12 swimmer finished her campaign by securing the elusive gold, knocking nearly a second off her British record to clock 1:08.72 in the S12 100m Backstroke final.
While the 17-year old won two medals at the 2011 European Championships and three at London 2012 last year, her victory in Canada was for her first international gold.
After touching more than a second clear in the final, Russell admitted she was relieved to have enough in the tank after a hectic week. Russell commented:
“Having the four events beforehand has been quite hard because I was always wanting to swim as well as I can on the backstroke, I knew I just had to stay confident and focused throughout the meet and I’d be okay for today and it was an absolutely amazing feeling when I realised I’d won gold. For all the work I’ve put in to pay off, I’m really pleased. It was a very hard final for me and I just tried to stay quite calm going into it. I knew I needed to focus on my start and my turns which I think paid off in that swim.”
Fellow teenager Amy Marren has also taken her debut IPC World Championships by storm and claimed her fourth medal and third gold with victory in the S9 100m Butterfly.
With golds from the SM9 200m Individual Medley and 34pt 4x100m Freestyle Relay already under her belt, the 15-year old showed experience beyond her years to take on Paralympic silver medallist Sarai Gascon in the Spanish swimmer’s top event.
Gascon edged into the lead after the turn but Marren found another gear in the final 25m, eventually pulling clear to take gold in a British record 1:10.07 ahead of Gascon’s 1:10.58 for silver. Marren said:
"The aim of that race was just to go out and enjoy it, I didn't think the 100 Fly was one of my main events but I do train really hard on it. That race was just about going in and enjoying it, trying to get the small things right and seeing what happened. I took a lot of confidence from my heat swim this morning. I knew there were a few things I could improve on but it was still a good time. That was much more of a race than the 200m IM. I didn't have a clue where I was and I just had to get on with it and do my best."
Claire Cashmore was also in the S9 100m Fly final, finishing sixth in 1:14.32.
Susie Rodgers won her fourth individual silver of the meet in the S7 50m Butterfly.
Competing at her first IPC World Championships, the 30-year old ducked under the 37 mark in both heats and finals, ultimately clocking 36.76 to finish behind Canada’s Paralympic silver medallist Brianna Nelson (35.70). Rodgers, who has also won 4x100m Freestyle Relay gold in Canada, said:
“It was a good, solid swim, I would have liked to go a bit quicker than this morning but it’s one of those things. I think I got a bit overexcited and you can’t get too excited in the fly. But it’s a work in progress and I’m pleased to go under 37 twice. The fly hasn’t really been my focus this season, it’s been more the freestyle. But I think now that’s something I can look at for next season."
Ellie Simmonds was in action in her fifth final of the meet, finishing fourth in the S6 100m Backstroke.
The 18-year old, who has won two golds and a bronze at her third IPC World Championshps, lowered her PB from the heats to touch in 1:33.16.
Andy Mullen also lowered his PB in his fourth final of the meet.
The 16-year old set 1:19.94 to finish fourth in the S5 100m Freestyle final, taking 2.42 seconds off his previous lifetime best.
Tully Kearney and Matt Walker were the other two Brits in action in the sixth finals session.
Having squeezed into the S10 100m Backstroke final by 0.01 seconds from the heats, 16-year old Kearney set 1:14.87 to finish eighth in the final.
Walker, who defended his S7 50m Freestyle gold earlier in the meet, clocked 32.74 in the S7 50m Butterfly final to finish sixth.