Tokyo 2020 Paralympics News

All the latest news, straight from the Games.

With what seems like a blink of an eye, the Olympic and Paralympic Swimming is all over until Paris 2024. Both Teams have done the country proud by winning a total of 42 Individual medals and 10 relay medals. Out of the 42 Individual medal winning performances, 37 were won in a Speedo Fastskin Suit, an incredible 88 %. In addition, the NZ Paralympic Swim Team have won 4 medals of which 100% were in a Speedo Fastskin suit.  
 
The Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect shone through during the Olympic Games with moments such as Emma McKeon’s pure excellence across all of her events, Kaylee McKeown’s moment of friendship asking Emily Seebohm to present her with her Gold Medal and Ariarne Titmus showing total respect to her rival Katie Ledecky, in every post- race interview she gave. 
 
The Paralympic values of determination, equality, inspiration and courage have again been highly represented over the last 10 days. As an example, Sophie Pascoe and Ellie Cole will have no doubt inspired the next generation of Paralympians for Paris and beyond by both becoming the most decorated NZ and Australian female Paralympians ever.     
 
With so many first time Olympians and Paralympians in Tokyo, the experience gained for these youngsters will be put in their back pocket ready to draw on that experience to go one better in Paris.

 
DAY 10 FINALS – Friday 3rd September
 

Men’s S12 100m Butterfly (Athletes who have limited vision in both eyes either in Visual acuity (how far they can see) or Visual Field (how wide they can see)
Braeden Jason in his last bid for a medal was a little behind right from the start and came in 6th. Braeden was only added to the Team when a place came available so to have made a few finals is quite an achievement.   
 
Men’s and Women’s S10 200m Individual Medley (Swimmers with very minimal impairment that affects one joint, usually their foot or hand. Starts, turns and strokes are smooth and fluid.)
Col Pearse as expected went out well but came finished in that unlucky 4th position. With his first Paralympics now over, he will be no doubt be inspired for the next.  Jasmine Greenwood also finished outside the medals (5th) in the women’s event but again, at the tender age of 16 will be looking forward to the next one.  
 
Men’s 4 x 100m Medley Relay 34 Points. (4 Swimmers from different classifications which can only add up to a max of 34)   
In the final race of the Games, Tim Hodge, Tim Disken, Will Martin and Ben Popham charged their way to a Silver medal and ended the Championship’s Australian campaign. The lights will now go out ready to be lit again in 3 years’ time in Paris hopefully with much less global unrest.   
 

HEATS DAY 10 – Friday 3rd September

Women’s S7 50m Butterfly (designated to athletes with one leg and one arm amputation on opposite sides, or a paralysis of one arm and one leg on the same side. Moreover, swimmers with full control over arms and trunk and some leg function can compete in this class )
Tiff Thomas- Kane gave it her best this morning but up against some tough competition, missed out on a final spot.
 
Men’s S8 100m Butterfly (Swimmers with full use of their arms and trunk with good hip and some leg movement; swimmers with limb loss of two limbs; swimmers without the use of one arm. Swimmers use regular starts, strokes and turns.)
Jesse Aungles has had a tough meet with his competitors in this class and although swimming well, didn’t make it through to the final.  
 
Men’s S12 100m Butterfly ( Athletes who have limited vision in both eyes either in Visual acuity (how far they can see) or Visual Field (how wide they can see)
Braeden Jason in his last bid for a medal certainly gave it a go this morning qualifying 3rd fastest for the final. Looking at the form of the swimmers in this event, the World Record is looking under threat but let’s hope Braeden rises to the occasion and wins his sought after Paralympic medal.  
 
Men’s and Women’s S10 200m Individual Medley (Swimmers with very minimal impairment that affects one joint, usually their foot or hand. Starts, turns and strokes are smooth and fluid.)
Col Pearse will go in 3rd for the final and we will expect him to be up the front during the first part of the race being his 2 strongest strokes. It will be exciting to see how he holds on to hopefully grab another medal.  Jasmine Greenwood also goes in 3rd in the women’s event hoping to get herself another medal but Keira Stephens missed out.
 
Men’s S3 200m Freestyle (This sport class includes athletes with amputations of both arms and legs. Swimmers with reasonable arm strokes but no use of their legs or trunk and swimmers with severe coordination problems in all limbs are also included in this sport class)
Grant Patterson in his last race of the Games missed out on a spot despite a gutsy swim. Grant only uses one of his shorter arms in this race so at a disadvantage to those swimmers with 2 full length arms so a great effort to even attempt the 200m.    
 
Men’s 4 x 100m Medley Relay 34 Points. ( 4 Swimmers from different classifications which can only add up to a max of 34 )   
Tim Hodge, (Tim Disken or Blake Cochrane ) Will Martin and Ben Popham will be racing for a medal tonight and with 2 swimmers having Golds in their individual events and 1 swimmer a Bronze, they are in a good position to end this meet on the podium.  


DAY 9 FINALS – Thursday 2nd September

Women’s S4 50m Freestyle (Swimmers who can use their arms and have fair function in their hands, but who cannot use their trunk or legs would swim in this sport class. Athletes with amputations of three limbs could also swim in this sport class.)
World Record Holder and defending Paralympic Champion, Rachael Watson showed what Champions are made of by defending her title last night. After a very average heat where we may have thought she may not win a medal, she turned it around to perfection. A real showing of experience and poise.    
 
Men’s and Women’s S14 100 Backstroke  (Swimmers with IQ of 75 or lower on standard tests, acquired prior to 18 years. Evidence of significant limitations in adaptive behaviour as expressed in conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills.)  
There was going to be no stopping World Record Holder, Ben Hance from winning Gold. He stormed off to  great start and never looked back climbing on top of the lane rope in victory. A newcomer to Paralympics, what a start . Youngster, Maddie McTernan began her Paralympic debut just outside the medals with another youngster and multi-eventer, Ruby Storm coming in 8th.    
 
Men’s and Women’s S10 100m Backstroke (Swimmers with very minimal impairment that affects one joint, usually their foot or hand. Starts, turns and strokes are smooth and fluid.)  
Col Pearse in an event which isn’t his best managed to get an 8th place in the final. Jasmine Greenwood faded in the last 25m to miss out on a medal coming 4thbut being only 16 years old, we will be hearing a lot of her in years to come. 
 
Men’s and Women’s S9 100 Butterfly (Swimmers with weakness, limb loss or movement difficulties in one arm or leg only; swimmers with slight co-ordination difficulties. Swimmers use regular starts, strokes and turns.)
Will Martin looked nothing but a Champion and swam sub 58 seconds in 100m Butterfly breaking his World Record for the 3rd time this year. He now has 3 Golds to his name and will have another shot at a medal tonight in the relay. With all eyes on Will, we have to give a mention to Tim Hodge coming in 5th in a respectable time. Sophie Pascoe gave a gutsy swim in her race by going out well ahead of the field and “a piano landing on her back “ ( as we call it in swimming ) on the last 15m . 3 swimmers in the field swam over the top of her to claim the medals leaving Sophie in 4th. Sophie still managed a smile as she knew she had given everything and as always, showed her sportsmanship and respect to the “young bunch “ coming through. 
 
Women’s 4 x 100 m Medley Relay 34 Points. ( 4 Swimmers from different classifications which can only add up to a max of 34)   
Ellie Cole, Emily Beecroft, Keira Stephens and Isabella Vincent raced to a bronze with Izzy accelerating into the finish when most athletes are getting tired ! A team effort as always but special mention to Ellie Cole who winning this medal becomes Australia’s most decorated female Paralympian. What a career.   
 

DAY 9 HEATS – Thursday 2nd September

Men’s S3 50 m Freestyle (This sport class includes athletes with amputations of both arms and legs. Swimmers with reasonable arm strokes but no use of their legs or trunk and swimmers with severe coordination problems in all limbs are also included in this sport class.)
Grant Patterson was so near yet so far and just missed out on a final spot in this event . Having won 2 medals already in Tokyo, I am sure he will still be happy with his overall performance.
 
Women’s S4 50m Freestyle (Swimmers who can use their arms and have fair function in their hands, but who cannot use their trunk or legs would swim in this sport class. Athletes with amputations of three limbs could also swim in this sport class.)
World Record Holder and defending Paralympic Champion, Rachael Watson had a slow start in her heat and didn’t quite catch the 3 swimmers ahead of her so will go in 5th tonight. She will be looking to go better than 5th tonight and is capable of doing so.  
 
Men’s and Women’s S14 100 Backstroke  (Swimmers with IQ of 75 or lower on standard tests, acquired prior to 18 years. Evidence of significant limitations in adaptive behaviour as expressed in conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills.)  
World Record Holder, Ben Hance will be looking to do what he is capable of doing and win in tonight’s final after breaking the Paralympic record this morning. Ricky Betar in a tough field, just missed out on a final place.  Maddie McTernan was happy with her heat and qualified 4th  with Ruby Storm qualifying for yet another final in 7th position.   
 
Men’s and Women’s S10 100m Backstroke (Swimmers with very minimal impairment that affects one joint, usually their foot or hand. Starts, turns and strokes are smooth and fluid.)  
Col Pearse just scraped into the final but not his best event so well done Col ! With her smooth backstroke technique making it look easy, Jasmine Greenwood qualified 2nd so has another good chance of winning a medal tonight.  
 
Men’s and Women’s S9 100 Butterfly (Swimmers with weakness, limb loss or movement difficulties in one arm or leg only; swimmers with slight co-ordination difficulties. Swimmers use regular starts, strokes and turns.)
Will Martin, Brenden Hall and Tim Hodge all swam in the same with Will Martin breaking his own World Record looking like the favourite for tonight! Alongside Will, Tim will be in the final but Brenden missed out.  World Record holder, Sophie Pascoe went out fast in the heat but faded on the last 25 but still qualified in a comfortable 3rd place.  
 
Women’s 4 x 100 m Medley Relay 34 Points. ( 4 Swimmers from different classifications which can only add up to a max of 34 )   
Ellie Cole, Emily Beecroft, Keira Stephens and Isabella Vincent will be our representatives for tonight in this event. All have won medals so far in relays or individuals so they will be in good contention for a medal.  

DAY 8 FINALS – Wednesday 1st September

Men’s S10 400m Freestyle (Swimmers with very minimal impairment that affects one joint, usually their foot or hand. Starts, turns and strokes are smooth and fluid.)
Tommy Gallagher gave it everything to snatch the Bronze and when I say “everything” I mean it. Tommy was unable to participate in the medal ceremony due to over exertion in the race which led to some medical complications. We have been assured by Paralympics Australia that he is OK and they will be arranging a special medal ceremony for him when he is back on Australian soil.
 
Men’s and Women’s SB 7 100m Breaststroke (Swimmers who have an amputation of one arm are eligible to compete in this sport class. Also, athletes with significant restrictions across hip, knee and ankle joints could compete in this sport class.)
After provisionally not being selected for the Games but added a month after trials as 2 extra places became available, Team leader, Blake Cochrane certainly thanked his lucky starts by winning a Bronze in his favoured event. Jesse Aungles came in 4th. Tiffany Thomas-Kane will be a little upset not retaining her title but with a Bronze around her neck, she should be so proud to add to her Paralympic medal collection.
 
Men’s and Women’s SM9 200 Individual Medley (Swimmers with weakness, limb loss or movement difficulties in one arm or leg only; swimmers with slight co-ordination difficulties. Swimmers use regular starts, strokes and turns.)
Tim Hodge had such a close race and unfortunately came out as the underdog with Silver.  His signature fast backstroke leg didn’t get him enough lead and he was pipped at the end. Despite a great time, he showed disappointment on his face which isn’t unusual when you have total self belief that you can win and then it doesn’t come to fruition. Still a youngster, there will be more to come from him in the future.  Sophie Pascoe showed her over a decade dominance in this event and won her 19th Paralympic Medal and her 11th Gold.    
 
What a win from Sophie Pascoe last night in the 200 Medley – her 4th consecutive win at the Paralympic Games in this event and another Gold for NZ. Australia added a silver and 3 Bronze medals topping the medal tally up to 28 and still counting!  With 4 World Record holders in races tonight, it should be a shiny one!

Sophie Pascoe

DAY 8 HEATS – Wednesday 1st September

Men’s S10 400m Freestyle (Swimmers with very minimal impairment that affects one joint, usually their foot or hand. Starts, turns and strokes are smooth and fluid.)
Tommy Gallagher had a well- paced het keeping the World Record holder at bay.  With the World Record being some 18 seconds faster than they both swam, I wonder if the World Record holder was playing games ! Tommy will go into the final in 2nd position so he has a real chance of a medal even if games were being played !
 
Men’s and Women’s SB 7 100m Breaststroke (Swimmers who have an amputation of one arm are eligible to compete in this sport class. Also, athletes with significant restrictions across hip, knee and ankle joints could compete in this sport class.)
Blake Cochrane and Jesse Aungles both had a lie in this morning with not enough entries to swim the heats. Jasmine Greenwood had that advantage yesterday and it paid off with a Silver ! Tiffany Thomas-Kane qualified in 2nd position for tonight’s final and will go in hoping to retain her Paralympic Title form Rio. We know she is on form from her medal winning performance earlier this week .  
 
Men’s and Women’s S9 200 Individual Medley (Swimmers with weakness, limb loss or movement difficulties in one arm or leg only; swimmers with slight co-ordination difficulties. Swimmers use regular starts, strokes and turns.)
Tim Hodge swam the perfect heat and will go in fastest for the final tonight.  Expect a fast backstroke leg from him being his best stroke but being extremely competent at the others, fingers crossed for Gold. After last night’s emotional win, Sophie Pascoe showed her experience by bouncing back by qualifying fastest for the 200 Individual Medley. Could she win her 19th Paralympic Medal tonight ?   


DAY 7 FINALS – Tuesday 31st August

Men’s S7 50 m Freestyle (designated to athletes with one leg and one arm amputation on opposite sides, or a paralysis of one arm and one leg on the same side. Moreover, swimmers with full control over arms and trunk and some leg function can compete in this class) 
With just over a second splitting all 8 swimmers and a close race for medals, Matt Levy was the unlucky one finishing 5th.
 
Women’s S9 100m Freestyle (Swimmers with weakness, limb loss or movement difficulties in one arm or leg only; swimmers with slight co-ordination difficulties. Swimmers use regular starts, strokes and turns.)
In a proud moment for our brand with half the swimmers in this race tip to toe in Speedo, World record holder, Sophie Pascoe went from the gun and held on for her 10th Individual Paralympic Gold Medal. All 18 of Sophie’s Paralympic medals are in individual events. To put the NZ team into perspective, they only sent 5 swimmers to Tokyo compared to the 34 Swimmers on the Aussie Team . Ellie Cole came in 5th only a 10th of a second behind the bronze medallist. Ash O Connell 6th and Emily Beecroft 8th rounded up the final positions for the stacked Speedo final.    
 
Men’s S12 100m Freestyle ( Athletes who have limited vision in both eyes either in Visual acuity (how far they can see) or Visual Field (how wide they can see)
Braeden Jason gave it his best shot to grab a medal but another unlucky finish for the Aussie coming in 5th .
Men’s S8 400m Freestyle (Swimmers with full use of their arms and trunk with good hip and some leg movement; swimmers with limb loss of two limbs; swimmers without the use of one arm. Swimmers use regular starts, strokes and turns.)
Ben Popham after qualifying 8th  ended up finishing 8th . He has performed so well in the sprint events and maybe that has taken the edge off the distance events showing how hard it is to peak for different distances especially 100 up to the 400. It requires different preparation for both and the combination for Ben favoured towards his great sprint wins this time.  
 
Men’s SB2 50 m Breaststroke (Swimmers in this sport class mainly rely on their arms for swimming. Their hand, trunk and leg function is limited due to tretraplegia or co-ordination problems, for example)
Grant Patterson won the Silver to add to his Bronze earlier in the week . After such a long career, it is so nice to see him being rewarded with the Paralympic medals he so deserves after putting so much commitment into the Sport. 
 
Men’s and Women’s S10 100m Butterfly (Swimmers with very minimal impairment that affects one joint, usually their foot or hand. Starts, turns and strokes are smooth and fluid.)  
18 year old Col Pearse won the Bronze in a PB with 16 year old Jasmine Greenwood winning a Silver in the women’s equivalent.  Both at such a young age shows what a good position the Australian Para Team are in looking forward to Paris and beyond. 
 
Women’s S14 200 Individual Medley (Swimmers with IQ of 75 or lower on standard tests, acquired prior to 18 years. Evidence of significant limitations in adaptive behaviour as expressed in conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills.)  
Paige Leonhardt despite having a good breaststroke leg, finished 6th but has to look at it as an improvement on her Rio performance where she missed out on swimming in the final. Youngster Ruby Storm was not far behind in 7th.  
 

DAY 7 HEATS – Tuesday 31st August
 

Men’s S7 50 m Freestyle (designated to athletes with one leg and one arm amputation on opposite sides, or a paralysis of one arm and one leg on the same side. Moreover, swimmers with full control over arms and trunk and some leg function can compete in this class) 
Matt Levy qualified in 4th position, maybe a bit tired from his World Record relay last night but with a good 8 hours between heats and finals, he will make sure his rest time is used effectively to try and grab another medal tonight.  
 
Women’s S9 100m Freestyle (Swimmers with weakness, limb loss or movement difficulties in one arm or leg only; swimmers with slight co-ordination difficulties. Swimmers use regular starts, strokes and turns.)
Between Australia and NZ, we have half of the finalists in this event. World record holder, NZ Sophie Pascoe qualified 3rd, Ellie Cole 4th with Ash O Connell and Emily Beecroft not far behind. All heat swimmers are around the 1.03/1.04 mark so will be a fight for medals rather than records.   
 
Women’s S7 100m Freestyle (designated to athletes with one leg and one arm amputation on opposite sides, or a paralysis of one arm and one leg on the same side. Moreover, swimmers with full control over arms and trunk and some leg function can compete in this class)
After her Silver medal win in the relay, the youngest member of the Team, Isabella Vincent didn’t make it through to the final but what a Paralympic career start for the 15 year old already decorated with Silver.  
 
Men’s S12 100m Freestyle (Athletes who have limited vision in both eyes either in Visual acuity (how far they can see) or Visual Field (how wide they can see)
Finishing just outside the medals in his 400m Freestyle, Braeden will be looking to go 1 better in the 100 m. Qualifying 3rd fastest and looking very cool, calm and collected after his heat, let’s hope he can hang on for the Bronze tonight.   
Men’s S8 400m Freestyle (Swimmers with full use of their arms and trunk with good hip and some leg movement; swimmers with limb loss of two limbs; swimmers without the use of one arm. Swimmers use regular starts, strokes and turns.)
Ben Popham will be swimming in an outside lane in the final qualifying 8th . He may well be emotionally exhausted after the Relay Gold last night but with a good rest this afternoon, he should bounce back with a better swim in the final.  
 
Men’s SB2 50 m Breaststroke (Swimmers in this sport class mainly rely on their arms for swimming. Their hand, trunk and leg function is limited due to tretraplegia or co-ordination problems, for example)
Grant Patterson won his heat in great style qualifying 2nd fastest for tonight. With his recognisable almost no breathing technique and super fast stroke rate with his arms, he will be going for his 2nd medal of the Games tonight. Gold will be a tough one but silver looks shiny.  
 
Men’s and Women’s S10 100m Butterfly (Swimmers with very minimal impairment that affects one joint, usually their foot or hand. Starts, turns and strokes are smooth and fluid.)  
Col Pearse goes in as 3rd fastest but with 7 swimmers from the 8 all swimming around 58 seconds, it will be a blanket finish and a fight for the medals. Jasmine Greenwood didn’t have to swim a heat as there weren’t enough swimmers in the event so all will be nice and rested for tonight. 
 
Men’s and Women’s S14 200 Individual Medley (Swimmers with IQ of 75 or lower on standard tests, acquired prior to 18 years. Evidence of significant limitations in adaptive behaviour as expressed in conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills.)  
The Individual Medley have attracted 3 heats full of competitors so making it pretty tough to get through to the finals. Liam Schluter missed out in the men’s and Ash Van Rijswijk in the women’s but the women’s final will be represented with Paige Leonhardt  and Ruby Storm qualifying 4th and 7th respectively.


DAY 6 FINALS – Monday 30th August

Men’s and Women’s S9 100 Backstroke (Swimmers with weakness, limb loss or movement difficulties in one arm or leg only; swimmers with slight co-ordination difficulties. Swimmers use regular starts, strokes and turns.)
Tim Hodge grabbed the Bronze in what was going to be a close race and all 3 place getters went under the old Paralympic Record held by Matt Cowdrey. In the women’s race, NZ Speedo Ambassador Sophie Pascoe went out at such a speed with every intention of winning but faded in the last 25m and having to settle for Bronze. Despite tears of disappointment, this is her 17th Paralympic Medal ( her first Bronze ) and has 3 more events to go. Ellie Cole came in 4th.
 
Men’s 4 x 100m  Medley Relay 34 Points ( 4 Swimmers from different classifications which can only add up to a max of 34 )
Australia led right from the start in this race putting Rowan Crothers, the fastest swimmer up the front. Relay order is so tactical and believe it or not, ‘personality’ can come into play. If a swimmer is a sort of swimmer who performs best leading from the front, it can be a mistake to put them on the end if the chances are it will be a close race and they may not be in front when they dive in. On the other hand, there are swimmers who crave the challenge and like the chase. Not knowing how the other countries are going to order their swimmers makes it a real tactical game.  Will Martin swam the 2nd leg, Matt Levy the 3rd with Ben Popham storming in for the Gold in a World Record.    
 

DAY 6 HEATS – Monday 30th August

Men’s and Women’s S9 100 Backstroke (Swimmers with weakness, limb loss or movement difficulties in one arm or leg only; swimmers with slight co-ordination difficulties. Swimmers use regular starts, strokes and turns.)
After having to wait until day 6 to swim, Tim Hodge qualified fastest for tonight’s final with Brenden Hall also making it through. The Paralympic record held by Matt Cowdrey from London 2012 maybe under threat. It may be nice if it is broken by an Aussie. In the women’s race, NZ Speedo Ambassador Sophie Pascoe holds the World Record and Ellie Cole holds the Paralympic Record. Both are in the final swimming below their best times in the heats so potentially saving energy but there is tough competition from both Spanish and American swimmers.    
 
Men’s 4 x 100m  Medley Relay 34 Points ( 4 Swimmers from different classifications which can only add up to a max of 34 )
After missing out on a medal in 2016 in this event, Australia will be looking to rectify that result . Rowan Crothers, Ben Popham , Will Martin and Matt Levy will be the swimmers in that quest tonight.   


DAY 5 FINALS – Sunday 29th August

Men’s and Women’s S14 100 m Breaststroke (Swimmers with IQ of 75 or lower on standard tests, acquired prior to 18 years. Evidence of significant limitations in adaptive behaviour as expressed in conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills.)  
Jake Michel had the race of his life swimming an Australian Record and winning Silver behind host nation’s Naohide Yamaguchi who had to break the World record to beat the Aussie. Jake’s first International meet was back at the World Champs in London in 2019 and his improvement since then has been quite dramatic in this event- 3 seconds to be exact. Ashley Van Rijswijk in her first International final came 5th just ahead of Paige Leonhardt. With young swimmers such as Jake and Ashley, the future of Australian Para Swimming looks healthy.   
 
Women’s S13 50 m Freestyle ( Athletes who have limited vision in both eyes either in Visual acuity (how far they can see) or Visual Field (how wide they can see)
Katja Dedekind just missed out on a bronze in the last few metres of the one lap dash. At 40 m, it looked as if she may overtake the leader to win gold it just goes to show, swimmers don’t just have to be fit, their skills need to be on point band in this case, Katja misjudged the finish. With the added difficulty of being in the S13 Classification (vision impaired) this is an example of the hurdles these athletes have to overcome.
 
Men’s S9 50 m Freestyle (Swimmers with weakness, limb loss or movement difficulties in one arm or leg only; swimmers with slight co-ordination difficulties. Swimmers use regular starts, strokes and turns.)
Will Martin in fast and close finish, came out the underdog in 4th place despite posting a best time. This close finish demonstrates again how skills need to be on point and in this case, the timing of the stroke into the finishing touch. This can be hard to perfect when you are on an improvement trajectory as your body has never swam so fast so you get towards the wall in less strokes and you are travelling at a faster velocity so you experience a perception which is new to you as an athlete. Swimmers do train with bungy cords to try to replicate such speed! Tim Disken came in 7th.
 
Women’s 4 x 100 Freestyle Relay 34 Points ( 4 Swimmers from different classifications which can only add up to a max of 34 )
A bit of drama unfolded here with Australia coming in 3rd , then 2 teams being disqualified bumping Australia up to Silver. Australia’s youngest team member across all sports, Isabella Vincent swam alongside Ash McConnell ,Emily Beecroft and Ellie Cole. Ellie Cole ( S9) may not have won her 3rd consecutive Gold in this event but now has  16 Paralympic medals to her name which is equal to the great Pryia Cooper . We may see that overtaken over the rest of the Games which will see Ellie come home to Australia as Australia’s most decorated  female swimmer. The most decorated male swimmer is still our Speedo Ambassador Matt Cowdrey on an outstanding 23! Australia’s youngest team member across all sports   


DAY 5 HEATS – Sunday 29th August

Men’s and Women’s S14 100 m Breaststroke (Swimmers with IQ of 75 or lower on standard tests, acquired prior to 18 years. Evidence of significant limitations in adaptive behaviour as expressed in conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills.)  
Jake Michel had  a great win in heat 1 breaking the Paralympic Record only to have it snapped away in heat 2. He will go in 2nd fastest qualifier tonight with all eyes on the prize. In a very close heat, Ashley Van Rijswijk came out on top and will go in ranked third just ahead of Paige Leonhardt. The Gold might be out of reach for the Aussies but they both looked like they had saved energy for the final by not looking too puffed after their respective swims.   
 
Women’s S13 50 m Freestyle ( Athletes who have limited vision in both eyes either in Visual acuity (how far they can see) or Visual Field (how wide they can see)
Katja Dedekind had a strong heat and will go 4th for the final  but she has swum faster so hopefully a bit in the tank to try and snatch the Gold tonight. Unfortunately Kiralee Hayes missed out on a final spot by a 10th of a second.
 
Men’s S9 50 m Freestyle (Swimmers with weakness, limb loss or movement difficulties in one arm or leg only; swimmers with slight co-ordination difficulties. Swimmers use regular starts, strokes and turns.)
Will Martin continued his great form in his heat qualifying 3rd for the final with Tim Disken grabbing an outside lane for tonight. Alex Tuckfield missed out on going through.
 
Women’s 4 x 100 Freestyle Relay 34 Points ( 4 Swimmers from different classifications which can only add up to a max of 34 )
We have a strong team including Ellie Cole ( S9) who will be looking at winning Gold with the other Team members to add her previous Golds in this relay in 2012 and 2016. The women’s team did the triple at the Olympics so it would be history if we see our Paralympic Team repeat the win tonight.   

DAY 4 FINALS – Saturday 28th August

Men’s and Women’s S10 100m Freestyle (Swimmers with very minimal impairment that affects one joint, usually their foot or hand. Starts, turns and strokes are smooth and fluid.)  
Rowan Crothers raced to his 2nd medal of the Games adding a silver to his 50m Gold. Rowan came off the turn and had the fastest 3rd 25 of all the swimmers but faded towards the end. In true Rowan fashion, nothing but smiles and sportsmanship congratulating the winner. Tommy Gallagher came in 5th which he may be disappointed with but great experience at his first Games.  Auralie Rivard from Canada broke the World record again in the final of the women’s 100m Freestyle and Aussie Jasmine Greenwood after an incredible first lap came in 5th and broke her own Australian Record.    
 
Men’s 100m SB6 Breaststroke (Swimmers with good arms, trunk and some leg movement; swimmers with co-ordination weakness or limb loss down one side of the body.)
Matt Levy gave everything to try to win his first ever individual Paralympic Gold medal in a tough race but came away with the bronze which will count as his 8th medal across his 5 Games (2004, 2008, 2012, 2016 and 2020 ) To have such a successful result at a 5th Games is quite some feat. We saw Emily Seebohm and Cate Campbell win Bronze at their 4th Olympic Games- maybe they will take up the “ Matt Levy Challenge” and give it another go in Paris!   

Men’s 150m  SM3 Individual Medley (Swimmers with good shoulder movement, some elbow and hand movement, with no use of their legs or trunk; swimmers with significant limb loss in all four limbs. Swimmers use water starts and assistance in the water.)
Grant Patterson alias ‘Scooter’ and Ahmed Kelly alias ‘Liquid Nails’ didn’t disappoint and both won their first Individual Paralympic Medal in their Games history. Ahmed won Silver with Grant the Bronze. If you watched, you may have noticed Ahmed doing butterfly with Breaststroke legs on the Freestyle leg of the race. The word “ freestyle “ means just that- “free style” so you are free to do whichever stroke you wish. Traditionally the “ front crawl “ is the fastest so that is what we usually will see but Ahmed’s breaststroke leg kick is so powerful and faster than his freestyle kick more so for him, it made sense for him not to do the norm.  
 
Men’s 200m SM8 Individual Medley (Swimmers with full use of their arms and trunk with good hip and some leg movement; swimmers with limb loss of two limbs; swimmers without the use of one arm. Swimmers use regular starts, strokes and turns.)
Jesse Aungles came in 7th despite having a great lap of backstroke . No doubt he will be disappointed but every competitor at the Games will have tried their utmost best and sometimes the results aren’t what you wanted or expect.  
 
4 x 100m Mixed Freestyle Relay 56 Points ( 4 Swimmers from S14 Classification )
Ricky Betar, Ben Hance, Ruby Storm and Maddie McTernan swam in that order to win a Silver in the inaugural 4 x 100 Mixed Freestyle relay. Looking at their splits, they all swam out of their skins – an Aussie relay tradition !      


DAY 4 HEATS – Saturday 28th August

Men’s and Women’s S10 100m Freestyle (Swimmers with very minimal impairment that affects one joint, usually their foot or hand. Starts, turns and strokes are smooth and fluid.)  
Rowan Crothers and Tommy Gallagher are both through to the final in 3rd and 4th position. Rowan is the one with the speed and Tommy is the one with the endurance, much of that endurance base gained from his surf life- saving days.  With Rowan having won the 50m earlier in the week, he would be the in- form athlete and choice to win.  Auralie Rivard from Canada broke the World record in the heats of the women’s 100m Freestyle 3 seconds ahead of the next 6 swimmers including Aussie Jasmine Greenwood . This race will be a fight for the silver.   
 
Men’s 100m SB6 Breaststroke (Swimmers with good arms, trunk and some leg movement; swimmers with co-ordination weakness or limb loss down one side of the body.)
If Matt Levy wins a Gold medal tonight ( qualified in 2nd position ) , this will be a story. At his 5th Games ( 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016 and 2020 ) Matt has never won an Individual Gold at a Paralympics so let’s all cheer him on to achieve something great that is still eluding him.  

Men’s 150m  SM3 Individual Medley  (Swimmers with good shoulder movement, some elbow and hand movement, with no use of their legs or trunk; swimmers with significant limb loss in all four limbs. Swimmers use water starts and assistance in the water. )
Qualifying in 1st and 2nd positions for tonight’s final, Grant Patterson alias ‘Scooter’ and Ahmed Kelly alias ‘Liquid Nails’ will be fighting for top position. Both having represented Australia at Paralympics before, neither have won a medal so this could be a big night of celebration for both. 
 
Men’s 200m SM8 Individual Medley (Swimmers with full use of their arms and trunk with good hip and some leg movement; swimmers with limb loss of two limbs; swimmers without the use of one arm. Swimmers use regular starts, strokes and turns.)
After missing out on a medal yesterday, Jesse Aungles will be fighting for that chance tonight having qualified 4th. I can guarantee he will be doing all he can to not be the bridesmaid again.
 
4 x 100m Mixed Freestyle Relay 56 Points ( 4 Swimmers from S14 Classification )
Like in the Olympic Games this year, the Paralympic Games have added in a mixed gender relay for the first time. Ricky Betar, Ben Popham, Ruby Storm and Maddie McTerrnan will be our representatives in this race and with 2 of them being medallists so far, the other 2 will gain great confidence from that. Swimming Australia have been working on their relays and at the Olympics, we saw 5 out of 6 relays win medals. Let’s see if our Paralympic Team can follow suit.    

DAY 3 FINAL – Friday 27th August

Men’s and Women’s S14 200m Freestyle. (Swimmers with IQ of 75 or lower on standard tests, acquired prior to 18 years. Evidence of significant limitations in adaptive behaviour as expressed in conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills.)  
In his best event, Liam Schluter was so close to winning bronze but missed out despite a gutsy last 50 m in a fast race where the World record was broken by GBR Reece Dunn. He will be disappointed but will be refocussing on the 200 Medley later in the week. Ricky Betar at his first Games came in 7th and will also be re-focussing on his other events including the relay tonight where there is a chance of a medal. Ruby Storm finished 7th, the same placing as her qualifying position probably a little emotionally drained after her medal winning performance a few days ago.   

Men’s and Women’s S12 400m Freestyle. ( Athletes who have limited vision in both eyes either in Visual acuity (how far they can see) or Visual Field (how wide they can see)
In a fast race for the medals, Braeden Jason who was selected onto the Aussie Team at the last minute finished 4th somewhat off the medal pace but has proved his selection by putting on a great individual performance. Katja Dedekind added another medal to her Tokyo collection by swimming a well paced 400m holding off the opposition for the bronze. With her strongest race to come, lets hope she comes back with 3 medals to her name.  

Men’s S8 100 Backstroke (Swimmers with weakness, limb loss or movement difficulties in one arm or leg only; swimmers with slight co-ordination difficulties. Swimmers use regular starts, strokes and turns.)
Jesse Aungles got off to a bad start which in the end cost him the Bronze medal . It was always going to be a battle but on this occasion, Jesse missed out.he has another swim tonight so will be looking to go one better.  

Women’s SM7 200m Individual Medley (Swimmers with good arms, trunk and some leg movement; swimmers with co-ordination weakness or limb loss down one side of the body.)
Tiffany Thomas-Kane had a great breaststroke leg and backed that up in the freestyle to grab the Bronze. This is not her main event so we should see another medal from Tiff later in the week. Newcomer and youngster on the team, Isabella Vincent placed a credible 6th in her first International final . With no use of her legs, to be able to do what she does, takes the most unbelievable core stability which most of us could only wish for. What a future for her.  
 

DAY 3 HEATS – Friday 27th August

Men’s and Women’s S14 200m Freestyle. (Swimmers with IQ of 75 or lower on standard tests, acquired prior to 18 years. Evidence of significant limitations in adaptive behaviour as expressed in conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills.)  
Liam Schluter and Ricky Betar both have a lane in tonight’s where the Paralympic Record from 2016 will be under threat. With only 2 seconds separating the field, this will be one to watch.  Ruby Storm qualified in 7th position and on paper will be outside of the medals but after her brave bronze medal performance 2 days ago, I am sure we will see at least a PB.  

Men’s and Women’s S12 400m Freestyle. ( Athletes who have limited vision in both eyes either in Visual acuity (how far they can see) or Visual Field (how wide they can see)
Braeden Jason who was selected onto the Aussie Team at the last minute has proved his selection by making it through to the final in 6th position. A real fighter, you will see him almost looking like he is “overtrying “ but manages to hold water. Katja Dedikind will be looking to add to her Bronze from last night going in 3rd to tonight’s final.

Men’s S8 100 Backstroke (Swimmers with weakness, limb loss or movement difficulties in one arm or leg only; swimmers with slight co-ordination difficulties. Swimmers use regular starts, strokes and turns.)
Jesse Aungles is sitting in 3rd position for tonight’s final but it will be a battle for the medals with the heat times being so close. It seems our Aussie Team are coming up with the goods when it is tight races for medals so hopefully Jesse can keep the momentum going.     

Women’s SM7 200m Individual Medley (Swimmers with good arms, trunk and some leg movement; swimmers with co-ordination weakness or limb loss down one side of the body.)
Newcomer and youngster on the team, Isabella Vincent will be swimming in her first International final tonight and no doubt, experienced Tiffany Thomas-Kane also in the race will be showing her the ropes. Tiff has qualified in 3rd position so will be wanting to hold on for the Bronze. Watch out for a strong Breaststroke leg from Tiff.


DAY 2 FINAL – Thursday 26th August
 

1 Silver for NZ Sophie Pascoe and 2 Bronze medals for Australia added last night in the pool with the running Aussie Total of 10 medals.   
Women’s S13 100 m Backstroke ( Athletes who have limited vision in both eyes either in Visual acuity (how far they can see) or Visual Field (how wide they can see)
Katja Dedikind narrowly missed out on a silver but snatched the bronze in a fast race being won in a World Record by USA Gia Pergolini. Katja’s disability is her vision so she had to wait to be told her result before celebrating and the tears started flowing after that !    
 
Women’s SB9 100 m Breaststroke ( Swimmers with very minimal impairment that affects one joint, usually their foot or hand. Starts, turns and strokes are smooth and fluid.)
Keira Stephens won the battle for the Bronze with a lifetime best effort with the Dutch winner, Chantelle Zijderveld smashing her own World Record. Keira’s sportsmanship and respect towards the other 2 medallists was so noticeable just after the race and during the medal ceremony, much to be commended.     


  
Men’s and Women’s SB 8 100 m Breaststroke (Swimmers with weakness, limb loss or movement difficulties in one arm or leg only; swimmers with slight co-ordination difficulties. Swimmers use regular starts, strokes and turns.)
Sophie Pascoe was so close to winning Gold but was pipped at the end by the young Ellen Keane. Even though it wasn’t Gold but Silver, this is the 7th Silver she has won over her Paralympic career and her 16th medal overall. Sophie has 4 more races so she will be aiming to add to her collection. Tim Disken flew off the start and was leading for most of the 1st lap but faded towards the end and although improving on his heat time, he came in 7th. 
 

Paralympic swim athletes

 

DAY 2 HEATS – Thursday 26th August

A much smaller programme for the Aussies today and the first hit out at this Games for NZ Flag bearer and Speedo Ambassador Sophie Pascoe. 

Women’s S13 100 m Backstroke (Athletes who have limited vision in both eyes either in Visual acuity (how far they can see) or Visual Field (how wide they can see.)
Katja Dedikind had a great heat setting a new Paralympic Record which was snapped away from her minutes afterwards with USA’s Gia Pergolini breaking the World Record. Knowing the competitive nature of Katja, she won’t let it affect her preparation for tonight’s final where she has a realistic chance of a medal.   
 
Women’s SB9 100 m Breaststroke (Swimmers with very minimal impairment that affects one joint, usually their foot or hand. Starts, turns and strokes are smooth and fluid.)
Kiera Stephens will go in as 5th fastest qualifier at her first Paralympic Games but it will be the battle for the Bronze tonight with only .4 of a second separating 4 swimmers.
Men’s and Women’s SB 8 100 m Breaststroke (Swimmers with weakness, limb loss or movement difficulties in one arm or leg only; swimmers with slight co-ordination difficulties. Swimmers use regular starts, strokes and turns.)
Sophie Pascoe had a good battle in the heat and will go in 2nd fastest by a tiny 4/100ths of a second! The first heat was slow but there were telling signs a few swimmers in that heat were saving energy for the final.  If Sophie wins Gold, it will be adding to the Gold she won back in 2008 in this event and it will be the 10th Gold of her Paralympic career.  Tim Disken managed to qualify for the final in an outside lane so it maybe tough to win a medal from there but we have seen it done before.


DAY 1 FINALS – Wednesday 25th August

8 medals in the first night of swimming with 4 of those being Gold!

Men’s and Women’s S9 400m Freestyle (Swimmers with weakness, limb loss or movement difficulties in one arm or leg only; swimmers with slight co-ordination difficulties. Swimmers use regular starts, strokes and turns.)
Brenden Hall gave it his best shot to retain his title swimming the fastest he has for quite some years but finished just outside the medals. The title however will remain in the hands of Australia with Will Martin leading from start to finish with an unexpected win. Will swam for many years in mainstream swimming but switched to Para swimming when his condition from a stroke when younger, worsened. With this not being his main event, we hope to see more medals from him later in the week. Alex Tuckfield held off Brenden for Bronze. Lucky Patterson must have taken inspiration from Will Martin leading from the start and fired off a fast 300m but as the race came closer to the end , she faded but managed to hold on to take the Gold and retain her title. Ellie Cole finished outside the medals but has more races to come to add to her collection of medals from previous Games.
 
Men’s and Women’s S14 100m Butterfly (Swimmers with IQ of 75 or lower on standard tests, acquired prior to 18 years. Evidence of significant limitations in adaptive behaviour as expressed in conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills.)  
What makes sport exciting is people challenge the odds! Gold medal favourite, GBR athlete, Reece Dunn looked unbeatable after the heats but Gabriel Bandeira stood up to claim the Gold with 20 year old Aussie Ben Hance grabbing the Bronze in great style. Paige Leonhardt and Ruby Storm won the silver and bronze medals which were on offer which was a great effort as it was such a close race. Ruby’s face afterwards showed ‘disbelief’ whereas Paige’s face showed ‘relief’. How different is each medal winning performance!      
 
Men’s SB3 50m Breaststroke ( Swimmers with good use of arms and some hand weakness with no use of their trunk or legs; swimmers with significant limb loss to three or four limbs. Swimmers usually start in the water. B signifies a Breaststroke event.)  
Ahmed Kelly used his incredible power off the block to lead at the start despite being a double lower limb amputee but was overtaken by most of the field by the end. Ahmed spoke at a Speedo conference quite some years ago telling his incredible story of being left on the step of an orphanage in Baghdad, to being bought to Australia under challenging immigration circumstances for medical procedures. Thank goodness he became an Australian citizen and is able to represent our country.
 
Men’s S10 50 m Freestyle (Swimmers with very minimal impairment that affects one joint, usually their foot or hand. Starts, turns and strokes are smooth and fluid.)
Sprint King Rowan Crothers had the energy to jump onto the lane rope after his victory . With his recognisable shaved head , he pumped the air with both arms after improving on his Rio performances . Speedo Ambassador, and rookie Paralympian Tommy Gallagher came in 5th but a great effort from someone who was only classified Internationally as S10 in May this year. Tommy joined us as a surf ambassador a few years ago so our first ambassador to switch sports !
 
Men’s S8 100m Freestyle (Swimmers with full use of their arms and trunk with good hip and some leg movement; swimmers with limb loss of two limbs; swimmers without the use of one arm. Swimmers use regular starts, strokes and turns.)
Ben Popham seems to have grabbed the hearts of the nation after his emotional win last night. With his recognisable long locks of hair ( the complete opposite to Rowan Crothers) Ben had looked so comfortable in the heats, he would have known there was a chance of Gold . Athletes always have a break between heats and finals and this break can be “ make or break “ . As well as other factors, the nerves have to be calmed and being at his first Games, he clearly nailed the correct level of decorum and came up with the goods.    

Wednesday 25th August

Swimming is one of the 8 sports which has been part of the Paralympic Movement since its birth in 1960 in Rome.  Back then, only 77 swimmers competed which has grown over the years to 600 competitors in Tokyo. Australia have only been in the top 3 medal tally three times in the 60 years of Paralympic history but are hoping the make Tokyo the 4th.  
 
With only 2 heats of most of the races over the next 10 days, the aim for all of the Aussie Swimmers is to make it through the heats comfortably to preserve energy for finals in the evening. Australia sets high qualifying standards meaning most of our Team are placed in the Top 8 in the World and the support team of Team Managers, coaches, physios etc have high expectations for medals.  
 
To make things a little more clear on the complicated ‘classification” of Paralympic Swimming, after each event below, I have listed the GUIDE used by the International Paralympic Committee to help in their classification process of each athlete.  
 
Men’s and Women’s S9 400m Freestyle (Swimmers with weakness, limb loss or movement difficulties in one arm or leg only; swimmers with slight co-ordination difficulties. Swimmers use regular starts, strokes and turns.)
Tonight’s finals will kick off with World Record Holder, Brenden Hall (nicknamed ‘Junior’ as he is one of the oldest on the Team ! ) racing for his 3rd consecutive Gold medal in this event after winning Gold in London and Gold in Rio. This won’t come easy as he qualified 5th for the final with 2 Aussies ahead of him, Alex Tuckfield fastest qualifier and Will Martin qualifying 3rd.  Ellie Cole and Lucky Patterson will be racing each other for the Gold in the Women’s S9 400 m Freestyle, both looking quite relaxed in the heats this morning. Lucky is the reigning Champion but has had a few medical complications recently resulting in her withdrawing from other events later in the programme to concentrate on defending her title. Ellie may have other ideas! 
 
Men’s and Women’s S14 100m Butterfly (Swimmers with IQ of 75 or lower on standard tests, acquired prior to 18 years. Evidence of significant limitations in adaptive behaviour as expressed in conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills.)  
Ben Hance and Ricky Betar both made the final in 4th and 6th place and will be aiming to grab minor medals. GBR athlete, Reece Dunn broke the Paralympic Record this morning so will be hard to beat. Paige Leonhardt and Ruby Storm qualified 2nd and 6th both with chances of medals with the top 6 swimmers being close in time.
 
Men’s SB3 50m Breaststroke ( Swimmers with good use of arms and some hand weakness with no use of their trunk or legs; swimmers with significant limb loss to three or four limbs. Swimmers usually start in the water. B signifies a Breaststroke event. )  
Ahmed Kelly scraped into the final in lane 8 and will be looking to improve on his placing. Most swimmers in this event will be starting in the water but please watch Ahmed who, despite his disability , has the most incredible power in his dive off the block.
 
Men’s S10 50 m Freestyle (Swimmers with very minimal impairment that affects one joint, usually their foot or hand. Starts, turns and strokes are smooth and fluid.)
Sprint King Rowan Crothers will be aiming to win Gold in this event improving on his “ just outside the medals” positions in Rio. Speedo Ambassador , and rookie Paralympian Tommy Gallagher qualified 5th and no doubt will be doing everything to grab a bronze.
 
Men’s S8 100m Freestyle (Swimmers with full use of their arms and trunk with good hip and some leg movement; swimmers with limb loss of two limbs; swimmers without the use of one arm. Swimmers use regular starts, strokes and turns.)
At his first Games, Ben Popham looked so comfortable and happy with his performance this morning and goes in as fastest qualifier to the final tonight. It will be a close race but his look of ease this morning makes me think there may be quite a bit more in the tank.   

Enjoy the many yellow caps you will see on TV tonight!
 

After the conclusion of such a successful Olympic Games in Tokyo a few weeks ago, Japan are ready to yet again show the world that despite a global pandemic, life in the sporting arena can still go on, elite athletes can achieve their dreams and those watching can be in awe of mind blowing performances. The 2020 Paralympic Games starts tomorrow with the Opening Ceremony and the first day of swimming on Wednesday. With lockdown in many parts of Australia and New Zealand, we encourage you to get involved as not only will these Paralympic performances bring smiles to your faces but tears to your eyes.


Speedo are proud official suppliers to Australia 's Paralympic Swimming and Triathlon Teams and also have kitted out the rowers as a nice little "over and above" our supplier agreement.  With our connections with Sophie Pascoe, our Paralympic Ambassador from New Zealand, we also kitted out the whole NZ Para Swim Team, not under an official supplier but as a gesture as they had no other support. Sophie nearly cried when she received her race suits as it is the first time in her 4 Paralympic appearances where she has been given a suit with the NZ Para Crest applied alongside the Speedo Logo. 

paralympic athletes

The Australian Paralympic team will be racing in the same design race suits as the Olympic team so another chance for our brand to stamp our authority in the elite swimming space.  All but 2 of the Team will be racing in our Pure Intent or Pure Valor and at our final fitting session in July, we know the Team went off with "no worries" with regards to having the best performance suits, caps and goggles for them individually. We designed a special training suit and cap incorporating the indigenous artwork which runs through all of the team uniform. 


Our Aussie Team have the chance to win more than 30 medals over the 10 days of competition and the NZ Team have a chance of more than 6. Names to look out for will be Speedo Ambassadors Sophie Pascoe and Tommy Gallagher, Speedo Friendlies Col Pearse, Brenden Hall, Kiera Stephens and Rowan Crothers amongst many others which will become apparent to you over the next few days as we report on their Paralympic success.    

While the New Zealand Paralympic team will not attend the Opening Ceremony in Tokyo, they have replaced the flagbearer titles with equivalent leadership roles and named Sophie Pascoe and William Stedman as Hāpai Kara. 

Paralympic Swimming Schedule

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