Great Britain top medal table at first leg of Para Swimming World SeriesFebruary 7, 2024
Great Britain’s para-swimmers had the perfect start to 2024 by topping the medal table in Aberdeen at the first leg of the Citi Para Swimming World Series.
The competition concluded on Sunday after four days of thrilling racing at the Aberdeen Sports Village saw British swimmers take home 22 medals.
Great Britain won six golds, seven silvers and nine bronze medals at the event where more than half of the 24 podiums across the four days had at least one British representative among them.
One of the stars of the event in Aberdeen was William Ellard who won two golds and a silver.
The S14 swimmer won both the Open/Male 100m Freestyle and 100m Butterfly titles with a lifetime best time in the freestyle on the opening night sending him on his way to a fine week.
He knocked 0.2 seconds off his time as he set a time of 51.76 that earnt him a massive score of 972 to take the crown.
Ellard then posted the fastest time in the 200m Freestyle which was enough to claim silver in the multi-classification standings behind S3 swimmer Dimitri Granjux of France.
Cameron Vearncombe made it a double British podium in third, finishing just behind Ellard before the pair upgraded to finish one and two in the 100m butterfly.
This time just 0.26 separated the British S14 duo with Ellard taking his third medal of the event with a time of 57.10. Vearncombe also earnt silver in the 200m Individual Medley.
Reflecting on his meet Ellard said: “It’s good racing practice at this stage of the season and my coach has come along too. I’d like to thank him for travelling to Aberdeen and providing that support around my races and making me feel connected to home.
“It helps massively with race strategy and especially being the Paralympic year getting those details is really important to race well in the long course season and hopefully a good year ahead.”
Neave’s first World Series gold
There was a feel good moment for Megan Neave who picked up her first-ever World Series gold in the Female MC 100m Backstroke.
Neave started strongly and was first to the turn as she knocked more than a second off her time from the heats to the final to deliver a gold medal and a points score of 910.
“I’m buzzing – literally couldn’t be happier!” said Neave,
“To look up and see that time it feels like all my training has paid off. I have worked really hard since I had a lot of time out the water last year with an illness that set me back, but I thought I’m going to get back in and I’m going to try.”
In the respective open/male event, 18-year-old Mark Tompsett reached the podium in his inaugural international competition.
He earnt bronze in the multi-classification standings after the S14 swimmer touched the wall first in the final.
While still catching his breath after his racing effort, Tompsett commented: “I feel very good, winning a first world series medal is incredible – the backstroke was my main target event this meet and I’ve put a lot into that race.
I’m really focused on trying to make the team for Paris, going on from here to put in good performances at London in April.”
There was also a lot of home success for Scottish swimmers at the World Series with Toni Shaw (Female 400m Freestyle) and Faye Rogers (Female 100m Butterfly) both grabbing further World Series golds for Great Britain.
Brock Whiston shared the podium with Shaw twice and Rodgers once as she silver in Female 200m Individual Medley and bronze in the 100m butterfly.
The 400m freestyle was a clean sweep for GB on the podium with Shaw ahead of Rogers followed by Whiston.
She also finished ahead of Shaw in the individual medley where she improved her time from the heats to the finals by five seconds.
Fiddes takes 200m Freestyle crown
Louise Fiddes starred once again with gold in the Female 200m Freestyle with Poppy Maskill following her home to earn bronze.
The British duo led from the start but a late surge from Japan’s Kinoshita split the pair at the finish.
Speaking on her gold medal swim, Fiddes said: “I’m pretty happy, I’d of liked to have gone a smidge faster but I mean who doesn’t and I’m happy for where I am in the season. It was good fun to race Poppy and you know she was right there the whole way – I enjoy the thrill of a race!”
“The 100m Breaststroke is definitely still number one in my mind but this is an event I enjoy and it just seems to go quite well so it’s still something I put good time into in training.”
It wasn’t the only the medal for Maskill as she picked up silver in the 100m freestyle. She led the race in the pool but after the times were converted she finished just behind Canada’s Aurelie Rivard with a total score of 842.
Paralympic silver medallist Ellie Challis also got on the podium with silver in the Female 50m Backstroke.
Speaking on her swim the Manchester Performance Centre swimmer said: “That was pretty decent but again I had an operation like three months ago so it’s not the biggest deal looking where my times are at now.”
Harry Stewart and Rebecca Redfern also took to the podium in breaststroke events.
Reigning 100m world SB13 champion Redfern took bronze in the multi-classification format whilst Stewart matched that in the open/male final.
And away from the medal’s the Aberdeen pool proved to be a fast one for Scarlett Humphrey as she lowered the S11 British records in both the Female 100m Freestyle (1:10.62) and 200m Individual Medley (2:49.89) twice in one day. She then lowered another record in the 50m Freestyle on Sunday with a time of 31.37.
In the Men’s MC 50m Backstroke, Richmond Dale’s Archie Hare set an new S11 record British record of 39.16 in the national final – breaking through the previous mark that had stood for 20 years.
As the meet incorporated the British Para Swimming Winter Meet is also gave the opportunity for the next generation to be alongside some of the worlds best in Scotland.
For full results of the Citi Para Swimming World Series Inc. British Para-Swimming Winter Meet click here. You can also re-watch any of the races from the Championships on the British Swimming YouTube Channel.
Images: British Swimming