Silver for Medley Relay women
7th September 2012
The British women secured their second relay medal of London 2012 with silver in the 34pt 4x100m Medley Relay on the penultimate day of the Paralympic Games.
In a thrilling climax to the evening, Australia took gold by just 0.03 as the British quartet came home in 4:53.98 to roars of approval from the home crowd.
Unfortunately we were just pipped to the post on the night but it was an amazing job and a great way to finish my Games.
The quartet of Heather Frederiksen (S8), Claire Cashmore (SB8), Steph Millward (S9) and Louise Watkin (S9) were world record holders going into the meet but with no heats, their rivals were an unknown quantity.
And while Russia took an early lead, it became clear Australia would be the team to beat as Jacqueline Freney – who had already won seven golds in London – took over for the final freestyle leg.
The Aquatics Centre reached maximum volume as the crowd cheered British anchor Watkin – who took over 13 seconds down in fifth – past Spanish, Russian and American rivals to the wall.
But while she conceded it was bittersweet to be so close to a fairytale gold, Cashmore insisted the Brits viewed their result as a silver gained rather than gold lost.
“Unfortunately we were just pipped to the post on the night but it was an amazing job and a great way to finish my Games,” said Cashmore.
"I wanted to stay out there and soak up the atmosphere for a lot longer. It was amazing to see so many of my friends and family in the crowd as well.
"It was ridiculously close - literally the length of a fingernail. But the whole Games has been incredible - to get two silvers and a bronze is fantastic and more than I've ever done before."
Watkin had been in action earlier in the evening alongside teammate Lauren Steadman in the S9 100m Freestyle.
The Brits ultimately finished fifth (Watkin) and eighth (Steadman) in a tight final in which South Africa’s 13-time Paralympic gold medallist brought the curtain down on her pool career with silver.
Watkin was less than a second off Spain’s Sarai Gascon (1:03.62) in third as she set a season’s best 1:04.45 while Steadman was just 0.09 seconds off her PB from the heats as she clocked 1:06.07.
Sascha Kindred brought his London 2012 campaign to a close in the S6 50m Butterfly but was disqualified after the race.
I was just glad to have the opportunity to perform in front of that crowd again and I made sure I applauded them afterwards.
The six-time Paralympic gold medallist had improved on his heat placing to touch fifth in the final in 32.64 but was disqualified for alternating movement of the legs.
But having come away with silver from the SM6 200m Individual Medley, Kindred insisted he hadn’t been targeting a medal in the Fly and was pleased to have had another chance to experience the home crowd during a finals session.
“It’s the not the greatest of my swims at these Games but it’s just one of those things,” said Kindred.
“I was preparing for the medley and that was my focus so it was a case of having a good medley swim and everything else was a bonus.
“I was just glad to have the opportunity to perform in front of that crowd again and I made sure I applauded them afterwards because they’re the ones who have raised the British athletes to all these great performances.”
Andrew Mullen closed his debut Paralympic Games with a fourth-place finish in the S5 50m Butterfly.
In four years I’ll hopefully be bigger and stronger and I’m sure I’ll be able to catch the others then.
Having become the first Brit under 40 seconds with his 39.71 effort in the heats, the 15-year old maintained his ranking to touch in 40.04 in the final.
And having also finished fourth in the S5 50m Backstroke, Mullen admitted his debut boded well for the next Paralympics at Rio 2016.
“It’s been an amazing experience and really taught me how to race with nerves and just race my own race,” said Mullen.
“Especially with it being such a big crowd I’ve been able to focus on my own race and not let it bother me so it’s been a great experience.
“In four years I’ll hopefully be bigger and stronger and I’m sure I’ll be able to catch the others then.”
S12 teenagers Hannah Russell and James Clegg broke their own British records as they finished fourth and sixth in their respective 50m Freestyle finals.
Fourth is always the hardest position to come but the person who came third was a quarter of a second in front of me.
Having won three medals from five events in London, 16-year old Russell has announced herself as one of the new stars on the British team and impressed in her final race of the Games.
Having qualified in fourth for the final, the Brit maintained her position and knocked 0.18 off her British record as she clocked 28.07 to finish just 0.32 off the podium.
“Fourth is always the hardest position to come but the person who came third was a quarter of a second in front of me,” said Russell.
“On a 50m that is quite a lot and I gave it my absolute all to get another PB on the 50m which is probably the toughest event to get PBs in.”
Clegg had broken Darren Leach’s 11-year old British record to qualify seventh fastest from the heats and the 18-year old improved his position again as he came home in 25.20 – 0.32 seconds faster than his morning swim.
“That was an amazing swim,” said Clegg. “It felt pretty fast and I didn’t even expect to be in that final.
“It’s been an amazing week and I’m looking forward to getting some hard training done before seeing what I can do against these guys in four years time.”
Rhiannon Henry finished fourth for the second time at London 2012 despite a British record in the SM13 200m Individual Medley final.
I’m gutted to be fourth again but I can safely say that I gave it all I could.
The Brit, who also finished fourth over 100m Freestyle, dug deep but couldn’t close the gap on the front three as she came home in 2:32.84 – 2.48 seconds behind USA’s Kelley Becherer in third.
“I’m gutted to be fourth again but I can safely say that I gave it all I could,” said Henry.
“There definitely have been a lot of positives. I was disappointed with my 100m Freestyle because if I’d swum my PB, I would’ve won a medal.
“I had four days after to get my head right and I’ve come back tonight and swum a PB.”