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Welbourn lowers European record

16 Apr 2010

The first day of competition of the British International Disability Championships saw a number of strong performances from Britain’s top swimmers including Robert Welbourn who broke the European record in his category.

The British International Disability Championships incorporate the trials for the IPC Swimming World Championships in Eindhoven and the trials for the Commonwealth Games.

Swansea Performance’s Robert Welbourn broke the S10 400m Freestyle European and British record on his way to meeting the IPC Swimming World Championship qualifying time.

Welbourn took on Brazil’s Andre Brazil in the final and they fought for the lead throughout the first 200m of the race.

Brazil had a strong start but Welbourn kept on his shoulder until the halfway point when he began to move into the lead.

Welbourn took the victory in a new European record time of 4:07.05 and took gold with 966 points.

“I swam well a few weeks ago and so I knew I was on for good times here,” Welbourn said. “I felt good throughout and even though it did hurt I don’t feel like I slowed up through the race.

“Every time I take on Andre [Brazil], it is a good race. I know he has more speed at the start than me and I have a strong back end so it is down to whether he gets enough of a lead over me. But today I had enough to take the race.

“I have made the qualifying time now so the pressure is off me a bit. I am also aiming to qualify for the Commonwealth Games in the 100m Freestyle and if I do I will get a lot of confidence out of that.”

Welbourn’s club-mate Sam Hynd (S8) won silver with a total of 955 points after touching in 4:30.35 and Newquay’s Jonathan Fox (S7) took bronze in a time of 4:57.94 and a total of 945.

Double Paralympic Champion Eleanor Simmonds won her first medal of the competition in the women’s 400m Freestyle.

Simmonds (S6) got an excellent start alongside her club-mate Fran O’Connor (Swansea Performance, S7) but the world record holder showed her skill as she moved ahead of O’Connor.

In the final half of the race Simmonds settled into her pace and touched home in a time of 5:32.03 and won gold with a total of 1086 points.

“I really wanted to go under 5:30 here today so I am little bit disappointed but it was still a strong swim for me,” Simmonds said. “I have achieved the qualifying time for the World Championships and that is great.

“I was only just 12-years-old when I went to the 2006 World Championships in Durban and it was the first event to give me international experience so I am looking forward to competing in a World Championships again.

“Apart from the Paralympics this is our biggest competition and I am going to focus now on making sure I am ready to race. I think the experience from Durban and the Paralympics will help me in Eindhoven this year.”

The silver medal was won by Rebecca Dubber (New Zealand) with a time of 5:35.47 and a total of 844 points.

World Champion (25m) Natalie Jones won the bronze medal with a total of 820 points after touching in 6:04.70. O’Connor broke the S7 British record with a time of 5:40.50 as she finished fourth.

Ben Procter (Newquay, S14) broke the S14 100m Backstroke British record twice throughout the first day of competition.

Procter lowered the record to 1:06.77 after a strong heat swim but went into the final hungry for more success and fought to ensure he beat the qualifying time for the IPC Swimming World Championships.

He enjoyed an excellent start to the race and with an excellent turn extended it through the final 50m. He touched in a time of 1:06.22 and won the gold medal with a total of 894 points.

“It was really good to break the record here,” Procter said. “I have been working really hard on my Backstroke since the British Gas Swimming Championships. My coach actually increased the volume of my training to make sure that I could get the times. I really wanted to get my PB a few weeks ago but I missed it so I am really happy today.”

Carnegie’s Craig Rodgie (S14) won silver with a total of 793 points after finishing in 1:08.93.

The bronze medal was won by Swansea’s Jack Thomas (S14) who finished in a time of 1:11.84 with a total of 700 points.

Paralympic medallist Anthony Stephens broke the S 5 50m Freestyle British record on his way to his first medal of the competition.

The double European Champion swam a well timed race as he touched in a time of 34.30 to take almost half a second off the British record. He won bronze with a total of 860.

The victory went to Daniel Dias (Brazil, S5) with a time of 33.34 and a total of 937 with silver going to Itzhak Marnistvalov (Israel, S1) in 1:07.05 and 893 points.

Charlotte Henshaw (Nova Centurion, SB6) looked strong as she took battled against world record holder Elizabeth Johnson (Bath Uni, SB6) for the victory in the 100m Breaststroke.

Johnson and Henshaw have continued to have a friendly rivalry for a number of years and Johnson pushed Henshaw all the way to her victory.

Henshaw touched in a time of 1:39.71 with Johnson finishing in 1:40.35 but Henshaw took the gold with a total of 1011. Johnson took silver with 992 points.

“That was a really good race between us,” Henshaw said. “I felt really strong and I have been working on my final 50m because I have the speed from the start but needed to work on keeping the speed up. I think it went well tonight.

“The work with Glenn and Jill at Nova has been great and I think I went back at the right time and it is working well.

“It is really good to have Liz [Johnson] to race against; she really pushes me on. It is good to have depth within the category so we challenge each other which helps me.”

Bronze went to Claire Cashmore (City of Leeds, SB8) with a time of 1:22.85 and a total of 920 points.

Aquabears Natalie Massey (S14) looked impressive as she knocked three seconds off her qualification time in the S14 100m Backstroke.

She turned first and held onto the lead throughout the final 50m as she touched in a time of 1:13.50 three seconds under the qualifying time for Eidhoven. She won the gold medal with a total of 855.

Silver went to Chloe Selman (Doncaster Dartes, S14) with a time of 1:17.68 and a total of 724. Lauren Hobbins (Luton, S13) took third place with 717 points and a time of 1:17.19.

For full results from the British International Disability Championships Click Here

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