Ellie Simmonds secures Paralympic bronze in 400m Free

Swimming News

Ellie Simmonds won her second medal in as many days as she secured S6 400m Freestyle bronze at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

The Boldmere swimmer was the first of four English swimmers to reach the podium for ParalympicsGB on day six in Brazil. There were later maiden Paralympic titles for Steph Millward in the S8 100m Backstroke and Matt Wylie in the S9 50m Freestyle.

After an emphatic 200m IM gold yesterday, 21-year old Simmonds came into the 400m Freestyle hopeful of another medal, having won the Paralympic title at the past two Games.

And while the English swimmer picked up the pace around the 250m mark, Ukraine’s Yelyzaveta Mereshko already had established a four second lead.

The rest of the field just couldn’t compete with the Ukranian, who set a Paralympic record 5:17.01 to add the Paralympic crown to her World and European titles.

China’s Lingling Song claimed silver in 5:21.37 while Simmonds held off teammate Ellie Robinson to win bronze in 5:24.87.

And while bronze brought Simmonds the eighth Paralympic medal of her career, she couldn’t hide her disappointment at finishing nearly six seconds shy of her PB 5:18.69 from the 2016 British Para-Swimming Championships in Glasgow.

She said: “I don’t really know what happened, I just didn’t have anything at all in me tonight.

“It was just one of those days I think. After last night maybe, doing a world record and having a late night.

“I had a great warm up then I don’t know what happened. I’ve been in good form, but it wasn’t what I wanted at all. It was a lot slower time than I’ve been training before, it wasn’t good.

“I’ve got two events left so I’m just going to go out and enjoy them. They’re going to be tough races but they’re not my main events so I’m just going to and see how it goes.”

Robinson sets new PB time to finish fourth

While Simmonds was frustrated with her time, 15-year old Robinson was delighted with a seven-second personal best 5:27.53 to finish fourth.

The Northampton swimmer was in medal contention over the first 300m, before fading away from Simmonds in the final stages of the race.

And Robinson, who won 50m Butterfly gold on day two in Brazil, admitted her time had surpassed her own expectations for the final.

She said: “I am so, so happy with that time. I was swimming it and thinking ‘oh I’m fourth’.

“But when I touched, and I knew I was fourth, even though I did want a medal, I had to remind myself that this is a bonus event. I never really qualified for it in the first place.

“This was always just an event to take forwards into Tokyo, to take the experience from, but I’m really, really happy with my time.”

Image credit: onEdition