The Dolphins swim team captured a shimmering silver medal in the Men’s 4x100m Medley Relay (34 points) as they bid farewell to Tokyo Aquatics Centre on the final night of their 2020 Paralympic Games campaign.
Soaring from lane three, the Australian team – comprising of Tim Hodge, Tim Disken, Will Martin and Ben Popham – proudly donned the gold cap for the final time to finish the race in 4:07.70, just narrowly behind the Russian Paralympic Committee who posted 4:06.59 to break the world record.
Backstroke specialist Hodge raced the first leg and said he wanted to put the Aussie’s in the best possible position for his teammates.
“For all of us it was about swimming our own race and leveraging off the person in front to get the best start possible,” he said.
“So, for me it was almost identical to the backstroke leg and going through my usual race plan and making sure I gave ‘Disko’ the best opportunity.”
Next to dive in was Disken, who after sadly losing his mum earlier in the week, wanted to pull on the gold cap and make his mum proud.
“I just tried to replicate what I did earlier in the week, and it’s been a really rough 72 hours. I lost my mum on Tuesday night and just trying to get myself up to race tonight was hard in itself, but the support from the team has been phenomenal,” Disken said.
“Other Paralympians from other countries have reached out to me and I couldn’t be in a better spot for the heartbreak I’ve had over the last 72 hours, so to pull that out and get a silver medal with my best mates is bloody amazing and I’m so proud of the boys.”
Triple Tokyo Paralympic gold medallist, Will Martin, took flight in the butterfly leg while 100m (S8) champion Ben Popham brought it home in the freestyle.
“I’m really proud of the team and to have the last event of the Paralympic program and to swim that well is an absolute honour,” Popham said post-race.
Earlier in the evening, Col Pearse ended his Tokyo campaign by smashing his personal best by nearly three seconds to place fourth in the Men’s 200m Individual Medley (SM10). In a mammoth effort swimming from lane six, the Victorian VCE student touched in 2:14.20 to better the time of 2:17.41 he set in the heats. After a gruelling 10 days Pearse walks away from his maiden Paralympic Games with a new Australian Record and bronze medal in the Men’s 100m Butterfly (S10).
Young Bay and Basin swimmer Jasmine Greenwood and USC Spartan Keira Stephens also lined up on the final evening, tackling the Women’s 200m Individual Medley (S10). In a tough race – in which a new world record was set – both athletes successfully swam faster in the final than in their heat, with Greenwood finishing fifth in 2:31.06 and Stephens touching eighth in 2:37.76. At her first Games Greenwood can now call herself a Paralympic silver medallist having placed second in the Women’s 100m Butterfly (S10), while also making her debut, Stephens returns home a dual bronze medallist after strong performances in the Women’s 100m Breaststroke (SB9) and the Women’s 4x100m Medley Relay (34 points).
In the final individual event for Australia, Braedan Jason set a new Australian record and clocked a new personal best time of 59.01 to see him place sixth in the Men’s 100m Butterfly (S12). In an extremely close race – in which only 1.2 seconds separated gold from sixth spot – the USC Spartan and Para Pan Pacs gold medallist, improved on his position after placing sixth in Rio five years ago.
Australia’s Paralympic Swim Team closes its Tokyo 2020 campaign with 33 medals including eight gold, 10 silver and 15 bronze.