Britain's Brock Whiston breaks world record in stunning comeback to win goldSeptember 14, 2019
Brock Whiston set a new world record to win gold in the Women’s 200m Individual Medley SM8 at the World Para Swimming Championships in London.
Hopes were high for the home supporters inside the London Aquatics Centre, with three British swimmers featuring in the final – Whiston, Alice Tai and Megan Richter.
It was Whiston who headed in as favourite, having set a European record to qualify fastest from the heats.
That was inspired by a rapid breaststroke leg and Tai anticipated another surge from her compatriot, going out at full speed to open up a seven second lead at the halfway mark.
But, as expected, Whiston attacked on her favoured stroke, getting the crowd off their feet as she clawed back a 10-second deficit to take the lead at the final turn.
The 22-year-old would be closed down over the freestyle leg, but she had done more than enough to claim gold on her international debut.
Whiston touched the wall in a new world record of 2:35.30, breaking the previous mark of silver medallist Jessica Long, which had stood for seven years.
She was seventh after 50m, but never doubted her potential.
Whiston said: “It hasn’t sunk in yet. First major meet, gold last night and gold tonight, I can’t ask for anything more.
“I know it’s my weakest part, the first part, so I just need to hold, keep my cool and know that on the breaststroke leg I can come back.”
Despite Tai’s early dominance, she was edged out for the bronze medal, finishing fourth in 2:51.04.
That was the first time Tai has been beaten this week, having won all six of her previous races.
She will have the chance to cap off her remarkable week with another medal in the Women’s 4x100m Freestyle (34 points) on the final day.
Tai said: “We knew Brock has a strong breaststroke, so my coach said ‘your 400m was good, just take it out and if you die, you die trying’.
“The last 25 metres of that breaststroke was a burn and then I turned for the freestyle and I couldn’t feel my arms.”
Meanwhile, Richter was disqualified.
Dunn adds to medal haul
Reece Dunn set a new European record to win silver in the Men’s 200m Individual Medley SM14.
The 24-year-old had already set world records on his way to winning two gold medals this week and he was in contention for another after qualifying fastest for the final.
Dunn led at the halfway mark and did well to remain in touch with the leaders after the breaststroke leg, turning in third place.
The 200m Freestyle champion would have been fancied to surge to victory, but Japan’s Dai Tokairin produced an incredible finish to snatch gold.
Tokairin set a new world record of 2:08.16, with Dunn also inside the previous world best as his time of 2:08.70 earned him the European record.
Dunn’s teammate Thomas Hamer finished strongly in lane eight to touch in sixth place.
Youngster ends Robinson’s dominance
— Para Swimming (@Para_swimming) September 14, 2019
Ellie Robinson was beaten in the Women’s 50m Butterfly S6 for the first time in her last three major championships.
The Commonwealth, European and Paralympic champion was favourite to add the world title to that illustrious list, qualifying fastest with a statement swim in the heats.
Robinson has been dominant in this event for the last three years and it took something special to stop her.
Chinese 14-year-old, Yuyan, Jiang, smashed Robinson’s world record by 0.36s to win gold, as the Brit settled for silver.
Robinson said: “I’m disappointed – not because I came second, but because I wasn’t as close to my personal best as I wanted to be.
“I’ve just got to use this as motivation towards Tokyo.”
Double joy for Britain
The British dominance in the Women’s 200m Individual Medley SM14 continued, with Bethany Firth winning silver and Louise Fiddes taking the bronze.
Russian Valeriia Shabalina made the race her own, setting a new championship record to win in 2:18.78, and Firth was similarly dominant as she won silver in 2:23.04.
Fiddes clocked 2:26.05 to complete the podium, with Paralympic silver medallist Jessica-Jane Applegate less than a second behind as she finished in fourth place.
Shaw’s streak continues
Toni Shaw continued her impressive World Championships campaign, winning bronze in the Women’s 200m Individual Medley SM9.
Shaw was just 0.33s away from the silver medallist as she clocked an impressive 2:36.93.
The Aberdeen swimmer took her medal tally for the week to five, with a chance to add to that on Sunday.