Written by: Danielle Balales
Flying into day nine of the swimming schedule at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre, Australia has three competitors in the Men’s 100m Butterfly (S9) including Will Martin, Tim Hodge and Brenden Hall.
Martin, who trains under David Proud at Nudgee College, not only swam a new personal best at the Australian Swimming Trials, but his time of 57.73 also saw him clock a new world record. Since making his international debut appearance at the World Para Champs in 2019 – where he placed fifth overall in the S10 class – Martin has continued to improve and will be one to watch in his pet event. However, Martin will have a challenge from the other gold caps in the race, with Tim Hodge currently ranked third in the world, while you can never underestimate the experience of triple Paralympian, Hall.
Defending Paralympic champion and world record holder in the Women’s 50m Freestyle (S4), Rachael Watson will line up in her main event on day nine. The Chandler swim captain heads into the race ranked second in the world. At her last international outing at the World Para Champs in 2019, Watson claimed the silver medal ever so narrowly behind Italian, Arjolain Trimi. In a tight field, Watson will need to put in a solid performance if she is to successfully defend her gold.
Games debutants Ben Hance and Ricky Betar also return to the blocks on Thursday in the Men’s 100m Backstroke (S14). Since bursting back onto the scene in November last year, Hance has made his presence known to his international competitors after continually breaking the world record. His latest feat at the Australian Swimming Trials saw him set the current world record of 57.56. A determined and focused young athlete, Hance will be one to watch. Meanwhile, showing the depth of talent the Aussie team features, Betar is ranked fifth heading into the race and placed sixth overall at the 2019 World Para Champs in an Oceania record time.
Bay and Basin swimmer, Jasmine Greenwood, will line up in her third event of the Games when she competes in the Women’s 100m Backstroke (S10). After claiming a silver medal on Tuesday night in the 100m fly (S10), she will be hoping to make another final and gain more experience competing against the best in the world. Posting a time of 1:09.71 at the Australian Swimming Trials, the 16-year-old heads into the race ranked within the top five athletes, but she’ll need to be on her game with tough competition coming from Hungary and France.
More swimmers in action on day nine:
Men’s 100m Backstroke (S10) – Col Pearse
Men’s 50m Freestyle (S3) – Grant Patterson
Women’s 100m Backstroke (S14) – Ruby Storm and Madeleine McTernan
Women’s 4x100m Medley Relay (34 points) – Final Team will be announced 5:05pm AEST.