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Club and Community | 03 May 2024

Campaign of resilience for Para Team

Heavy flooding, delayed flights and sleeping on marble floors.

It was an impressive performance from our Para team who headed to Madeira, Portugal for the European Championships in April, looking to ensure their eligibility ahead of Paralympic Trials in Brisbane.

A once in-a-century rain event in Dubai proved a considerable challenge for the team who spent 24 hours in transit from Australia to Dubai due to a flooded airport, followed by another day of travel to Portugal.

The 20-strong team, including senior members Grant “Scooter” Patterson and Jesse Aungles, proved to be the perfect support for the largely junior team, showing leadership through resilience as they tackled the seven-day meet.

In the final international meet before Australian Trials, a number of athletes won medals while others achieved personal bests or clocked their quickest swim of the year.

Holly Warn, who blitzed the pool at the Australian Age Championships in her multi-class events, backed up her recent performances with silver in the S7 400m freestyle and 100m freestyle.

She was joined on the podium by Chloe Osborn who took out the gold medal in the same events.

Ashley Van Rijswijk also stood atop the podium, taking gold in the S14 100m breaststroke, with Callum Simpson also taking out the S8 100m freestyle title.

Grant ‘Scooter’ Patterson took home a bronze in the SB2 50m breaststroke, with Liam Schluter also placing third in both the S14 200m freestyle and 100m butterfly.

The Aussies continued with Taylor Corry placing third in the S14 100m butterfly, bronze for Victoria Belando-Nicholson in the S9 100m freestyle and Alex Tuckfield in the S10 100m freestyle.

Dolphins Chloe Osborn, Alex Tuckfield, Callum Simpson and Victoria Belando-Nicholson claimed bronze in the  34pt 4 x 100m freestyle relay.

Through the World Championships and world ranking slot allocation process, Australia has secured 35 spots: 18 male and 17 female and High Performance is aiming to have a pool of at least 45 athletes eligible at Trials for potential selection.

Greg Towle, Paralympic Performance Coach and Paris 2024 Campaign Head Coach praised the teams resilience and performance.

“Congratulations to all our team on a successful tour to the European Para Championships. Not only were we able to ensure that another 20 athletes are now eligible for possible selection to Paris, but we saw some amazing Dolphin Behaviours and demonstrated performances that truly embraced our values of being people first and performance driven.”

“We finished the meet 9th on the medal tally, with 13 medals, consisting of 4 Gold, 2 Silver and 7 Bronze. This is an excellent achievement given the competition we were up against and the various challenges that we faced on the travel over. Despite these challenges, I couldn’t have been prouder of the resilience and application of our athletes and staff to remain focused on the task at hand and perform.”

All the results from the event can be found here.