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Fox world record starts Paralympics with a bang

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30th August 2012

World champion Jon Fox smashed his own S7 100m Backstroke world record to steal the show in the opening heat session of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

The 21-year old touched in 1:09.86 to knock more than half a second off his old world marker and sail through as fastest qualifier by nearly three seconds.

I’ve been wanting to go under 1:10 for a long time so I’m really happy to have done that in my first race here.

Fox has won two European titles and the world crown since winning silver in this event on his Paralympic debut four years ago and he admitted ducking under the 1:10 mark had been one of his long-term goals.

“I came in to the heat looking to qualify first for tonight’s final,” said Fox.

“I didn’t realise I’d broken the world record until I looked up at the screen and saw the 1:09.

“I’ve been wanting to go under 1:10 for a long time so I’m really happy to have done that in my first race here.”

World champion Nyree Kindred clocked a Paralympic record to qualify fastest for tonight’s S6 100m Backstroke final.

A few of those girls who made that final are capable of a lot more as well so we’ll just have to watch this space and see what happens.

The 2004 Paralympic champion, who missed last season to have a child with British teammate and husband Sascha Kindred, led her race out before returning to touch in 1:27.96.

But with China’s Lu Dong (1:28.18) having also ducked under the old Paralympic record to qualify second fastest and defending champion Mirjam de Koning-Peper third fastest, Kindred insisted she is taking nothing for granted in the final.

“A few of those girls who made that final are capable of a lot more as well so we’ll just have to watch this space and see what happens,” said Kindred.

“At previous Games it’s really been about the other athletes so it’s uplifting to hear them cheering for you and it spurs you on.”

Teenager Hannah Russell will also have lane four in her first Paralympic final after qualifying fastest in the S12 400m Freestyle.

That’s what I’ll try to do for the rest of the Games and if anything else comes along as a result, I’ll be really pleased.

The 16-year old – who holds the short course world record for the event – smashed her own British record by 3.5 seconds to lead qualifiers in 4:41.25.

And Russell - making her Paralympic debut - admitted she was pleased with such an encouraging performance in her first appearance of the Games.

“I’m really happy do a PB in my first race here,” said Russell. “That’s what I’ll try to do for the rest of the Games and if anything else comes along as a result, I’ll be really pleased.

“Competing in front of a home crowd in a home pool at the Paralympic Games is a dream come true for me.

“The crowd were amazing so to perform in front of them was really exciting and something I’d been looking forward to.”

Susie Rodgers also impressed on her first Paralympic appearance as she qualified third fastest for tonight's S7 100m Backstroke final.

Backstroke isn't really main my event but it's great to get in and get a feel for the crowd. It's a fantastic atmosphere out there.

The European champion was just 0.26 off her season's best as she touched in 1:26.09 to progress.

"It's good to get that first one out of the way," said Rodgers. "It looks like it will be fast tonight but I know it would be.

"Backstroke isn't really main my event but it's great to get in and get a feel for the crowd. It's a fantastic atmosphere out there."

Stephanie Millward and Claire Cashmore made smooth progress from the S9 100m Butterfly heats, progressing fourth and sixth fastest respectively.

British record holder Millward finished third in her heat in 1:13.12 while Cashmore clocked a season's best 1:13.26 to join her compatriot in the final.

There were also final berths for S5 duo Anthony Stephens and Andrew Mullen in the 50m Freestyle.

Competing in his third Games, Stephens touched in 35.59 to qualify in seventh while Paralympic newcomer Mullen was eighth fastest in a personal best 37.40.

Harriet Lee and Gemma Almond made the SM10 200m Individual Medley final in the first Paralympic races of their respective careers.

SB9 100m Breaststroke world champion Lee was just 0.16 off the British record as she clocked a personal best 2:38.06 to progress sixth fastest while Almond touched in 2:41.28 to qualify in seventh.

Sean Fraser secured a final spot with a season's best in the S9 100m Butterfly.

The Scottish swimmer was just 0.25 off his personal best as he touched in 1:05.94 to progress in seventh.

British teammate Oliver Hynd - competing at his first Paralympics - finished 12th overall with a season's best 1:07.62 - just 0.51 off his own PB.

Finally, Rob Welbourn and Jack Bridge missed out on the SM10 200m Individual Medley final, finishing 10th and 11th respectively.

European bronze medallist Welbourn was just 0.27 seconds off his season's best as he touched in 2:19.80 while Bridge set a season's best 2:21.35.

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