The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games have come to an end with our Australian Paralympic Swim Team bringing home 33 medals including 8 Gold, 10 Silver and 15 Bronze.
Our Victorian athletes did us proud and showed their resilience after a challenging year leading up to the Games. Not only did they win 4 Silver and 2 Bronze medals, they also won our hearts.
Ahmed Kelly gave us one of the most memorable moments of the meet when he claimed Silver in the Men’s 150m Individual Medley SM3 (3:02.23). Kelly got to share the dais with his best mate Grant “Scooter” Patterson who finished in 3rd place. It was a long time coming for the pair, who have been working towards Paralympic medals since London 2012. Kelly also made the final in the Men’s 50m Breaststroke SB3, finishing in 7th place with his time 54.89. Ahmed is coached by Yuriy Vdovychenko.
There wasn’t a dry eye in the house after Col Pearse won Bronze in the Men’s 100m Butterfly S10. After an incredibly tough 18 months, the year 12 student was overcome with emotion when he realised he had smashed the Australian Record and his personal best to become a Paralympic Bronze medallist with his time 57.66. Pearse, who is coached by Matt King, also finished 4th in the final of the Men’s 200m Individual Medley SM10 (2:14.20) and 8th in the final of the Men’s 100m Backstroke S10 (1:04.41). An outstanding effort in his Paralympic debut.
Emily Beecroft was influential in the relay events. She won a Silver medal in the Women’s 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay (34 Points), the team coming home in 4:26.82. In the Women’s 4 x 100m Medley Relay (34 Points), her time of 1:08.99 in the freestyle leg saw her team claim Bronze and third in the world. Beecroft, who is coached by Dean Gooch in Traralgon, also made the final of the Women’s 100m Freestyle S9, finishing 8th in a stacked field with her time 1:04.47.
Ashleigh McConnell was also part of the Silver medal winning Women’s 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay team. She anchored the team to secure second place with her time 1:03.39. She also finished in 6th place in the Women’s 100m Freestyle S9, her first Paralympic final. Congratulations also to Ashleigh’s coach Sebastian Bettiol.
In the final event of the Games, the Men’s 4 x 100m Medley Relay 34 Points, it was a courageous effort by Tim Disken who sadly lost his mother Jenny earlier in the week. He wanted to pull on the gold cap and make his mum proud, and that he certainly did. The team blitzed their races, finishing strong in 4:07.70 to claim Silver. In his individual events, Diskin finished in 7th place in the finals of both the Men’s 100m Breaststroke SB8 (1:11.81) and Men’s 50m Freestyle S9 (25.71). Tim is also coached by Yuriy Vdovychenko.
A huge shout out also to former swimmer and technical official Maria Strong who made the switch to athletics and won a Bronze medal in the Women’s Shot Put F33 in her Paralympic debut. Well done Maria!
Swimming Victoria congratulates Ahmed, Col, Emily, Ashleigh, Tim, their coaches and the entire Australian Paralympic Team on their incredible achievements in Tokyo.