Largest New Zealand Para Swimming Team makes a splash in Queensland
Overnight in Brisbane, Paralympics New Zealand’s (PNZ) largest ever Para swimming team to compete at an international meet started day one of the Queensland State Championships with an impressive haul of results. The team of 11 Para swimmers jointly won two medals, set five personal best times and four Para swimmers qualified for the evening finals.
Rio 2016 gold medallist Mary Fisher (Wellington) once again won gold in Brisbane in the 100m Butterfly mixed classification event in a time of 1:18.40. For Fisher this was an outstanding swim, her fastest time in this event since setting the world record in 2013.
Fisher said, “It has been a wonderful first day of racing for the Kiwis. There is a relaxed but professional atmosphere in the team that includes new and seasoned Para athletes. Some of the team have not been in an environment such as this before however we are all bonding really well together and with the support staff. I’m looking forward to the rest of meet and more of the team starting racing tomorrow [Thursday].”
Aiden Withington (PNZ Para Swimming Performance Coach) said, “Today for Mary was about setting the tone for the meet. We have worked hard on starting racing in a relaxed way, creating a positive environment and focussing on doing the right processes. As a result, we achieved the outcome we wanted today with a great swim from Mary.”
Para swimmer Chris Arbuthnott (Auckland) clocked a personal best time to win a bronze medal in the 100m Butterfly multi class event. Arbuthnott will undoubtedly be thrilled with his performance as he aims for selection to the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games team.
Other Kiwis to make finals were Para swimmer Bryall McPherson (Auckland) and Rio 2016 Paralympian Jesse Reynolds (Auckland) in their respective 100m Butterfly events.
Development Para swimmers David Beck (Auckland), Tama Solouota (Auckland), Melissa Donoghue (Waikato) and Kate McKelvie (Hawkes Bay) all achieved personal best times in a very competitive meet.
The Queensland State Championships includes Para swimmers from Australia and Japan competing in a mixed classification race format.