Simmonds bags fourth medal to end Britain’s pool campaign
about a year ago
Ellie Simmonds bagged her fourth medal of the Games to bring the pool events of London 2012 Paralympics to a close.
The 17 year old Swansea swimmer added to her two golds and a bronze with S6 100m Freestyle silver on the final day, lowering her European record by more than a second to touch in one minute 14.82 seconds.
It took a world record from fastest qualifier, USA’s Victoria Arlen, to deny Simmonds her third gold, the American claiming her first Paralympic crown in 1:13.33.
Simmonds was adamant she could have no complaints about silver, having clocked the fastest time of her career.
“I believed in myself before the race and I think my limit was 1:14 at this moment in time,” said Simmonds.
“I’ve been setting PBs in each swim so I can’t ask for more than that.
“I saw Victoria on the last 15 metres and just thought put my head down and go for it. It’s great to be on the podium again – I would have loved the gold but you can’t have everything.”
Natalie Jones was also in the S6 100m Free final and improved her ranking and time from the heats to finish seventh in 1:22.64.
Harriet Lee completed a remarkable turnaround from being in intensive care four months ago to reaching the Paralympic podium in the final session of the Games.
The 21 year old world champion improved on her British record from the heats to out-touch Russia’s Nina Ryabova (1:19.67) and land SB9 100m Breaststroke bronze in 1:19.53.
And Lee admitted to reach the podium on her Paralympic debut was the perfect end to a roller-coaster year.
“It’s been a hard slog to get here and to finish the whole year of with a medal is quite emotional,” said Lee.
“Four months ago I wasn’t meant to be here, I wasn’t meant to be walking let alone swimming so be able to get here and get away with a medal is an amazing feeling.
“After being in intensive care, I was told I wouldn’t make it here so I wanted to prove everyone wrong and show everyone that I could get here and that I’m made of harder stuff than they seemed to think I was.”
The British Men's 34pt Medley Relay quartet of James Crisp (S9), Jack Bridge (SB9), Sean Fraser (S8) and Thomas Young (S8) closed the night with a British record to finish fifth.
Having qualified fastest from the heats, the Britons were never quite in contention in the final as other nations brought in their big guns.
But having turned at each 50m in fifth, the British quartet sliced more than two seconds off the British record from the heats to finish in 4:20.54.
"It was an immense occasion really," said Crisp. "It was the last race in the Aquatics Centre and probably the last race of my Paralympic career as well so it was an amazing way to go out.
"It was phenomenal and these whole 10 days will live with me for my lifetime. It’s been awesome how the whole country has got behind the Paralympics and the Olympics."
Bridge was also in individual action on the final day in the pool as he finished fourth in the SB9 100m Breaststroke.
Competing in the first Paralympic final of his career, the 18-year old was just 0.39 slower than his British record from the heats as he touched in 1:10.40.
"On a personal level it’s been a brilliant day," said Bridge. "Three British records in one day means it’s been really special and to share the last swim of London 2012 in this pool with these guys and that crowd was a wonderful way to finish."
Anthony Stephens brought the curtain down on his third Paralympics as he finished fifth in the S5 100m Freestyle.
The five-time Paralympic medallist set his fastest time since 2010 to come home in 1:17.23 and admitted he couldn’t have asked for much more.
“I’m over the moon,” said Stephens. “Obviously I would’ve loved any medal in front of the home crowd but I’m really happy to perform a season’s best in that last race.
“I wasn’t expecting to go as quick as that to be honest. It was my last chance of a medal so I just decided I was going to smash it out and then I’d break when I break and that would be the end of it.
“But it was a massive season’s best and the fastest I’ve done for a year or two so I’m really happy.”
Matt Whorwood also set a season’s best as he finished seventh in the S6 100m Freestyle final.
The 22 year old, who won bronze in his favourite S6 400m Freestyle, maintained his ranking from the heats to finish seventh in 1:11.21 – the second fastest time of his career.