Dolphins rookie Ben Popham has won his first gold medal for Australia at the Pan Pacs Para Swimming Championships in Cairns, exploding off the blocks like a ‘pop gun’ to shoot home for gold in the men’s S8 100m freestyle.
On a night where the Dolphins won a total of seven gold medals at the Tobruk Memorial Pool, 17-year-old Popham was a clear highlight, covering the two laps in a personal best time of 59.33, for his first gold medal at an international meet.
“I knew I had to get out fast if I wanted to post a good time and I’m pretty confident in my back end being about to motor home, and I was able to just do that,” said the excited Popham.
“I was a bit nervous before I raced, and put a bit of pressure on myself because I really wanted to get the best out of myself.”
“It’s really special when you break a minute and now I’ve just gotta break 58.”
On a night dominated by 100m freestyle events, Queenslander Rowan Crothers showed the form that could see him take gold in Tokyo with another gold medal, this time taking out the men’s S10 100m freestyle in 51.16, with Guy Harrison-Murray winning bronze.
Finishing fifth in the event at the Rio Paralympic Games in 2016, Crothers has been making solid strides in recent years, and will only improve on the road to Tokyo.
Ellie Cole showed her class to cruise home in the women’s S9 100m freestyle for her second gold of the meet, hitting the wall in a time of 1.03.62, with S8 swimmer Lakeisha Patterson taking silver. Paige Leonhardt took bronze in the women’s S10 100m freestyle.
It was another good night for Grant ‘Scooter’ Patterson swimming a personal best time for gold in the SB2 men’s 50m freestyle, with teammate Ahmed Kelly taking gold in the SB3 final. Rachael Watson won bronze in the women’s SB3 50m freestyle.
The S14 relay team of Liam Schluter, Daniel Fox, Jamie Lee-Getson and Taylor Corry won the first gold medal of the night for the Dolphins in the mixed 4x100m freestyle relay, finishing in time 3.57.86.
Before the men’s 34-point medley relay team of Timothy Hodge, Rick Pendleton, Timothy Disken, and Matt Levy rounded out the gold medals for the night.
With a total of 20 gold medals already in Cairns the Dolphins will be back in action at tomorrow’s heats with the men’s and women’s 200m individual medley events set to be a highlight.
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Australian Dolphins Medallists – Day 2
Gold - 6
Ellie Cole – Gold – S9 100m Freestyle
Ben Popham – Gold – S8 100m Freestyle
Rowan Crothers – Gold – S10 100m Freestyle
Grant Patterson – Gold – SB2 – 50m Breaststroke
Relay – Gold – S14 4x100m Freestyle Relay - Liam Schluter, Daniel Fox, Jamie-Lee Getson, Taylor Corry
Relay – Gold – 34-point medley relay - Timothy Hodge, Rick Pendleton, Timothy Disken, Matt Levy
Silver - 2
Lakeisha Patterson – Silver – S8 100m Freestyle
Ahmed Kelly – Silver – SB3 50m Breaststroke
Bronze - 3
Paige Leonhardt – Bronze – S10 100m Freestyle
Rachel Watson – Bronze – SB3 50m Breaststroke
Guy Harrison-Murray – Bronze - S10 100m Freestyle