Published: Sep 8, 2012 06:26:19 AM Updated: Oct 31, 2012 12:04:47 PM
Australia continued its dominance at the Aquatic Centre tonight with Matthew Cowdrey and Ellie Cole winning gold in the 100m freestyle (S9) and the women’s medley relay team securing an incredible 17th gold medal overall for the swim team.
The relay gold, also saw Jacqui Freney pick up her eighth gold of the meet, while having won 14 in Sydney, and 16 in Atlanta, the London performance will already go down as Australia’s most successful Paralympic Games in the pool.
In a thrilling finish to the relay, the team of Cole, Kat Downie, Williams and Freney swam a fantastic race to take gold in the 4x100m medley relay, beating the Brits by just 0.03 of a second.
Backing up from gold in the freestyle, Cole was just a shade off the (S9) backstroke world record in 1:10.19, while Freney swam an anchor leg to remember diving in some 12 metres behind fellow S9 Oxana Guseva from Russia to out touch GB and the USA for gold.
For 23-year-old Cowdrey who now has five gold medals, two silver in London, and a total of 22 Paralympic medals from three Games, tonight’s title didn’t come easily.
Swimming over the top of Hungarian Tamas Toth to win in a time of 55.84, Cowdrey said he was feeling the effects of a long program and said he might have to re-consider his schedule in Rio 2016.
“I really had to work for that one and, I tell you what, we're nearing the end of a very long week and I've definitely paid for it physically,” said Cowdrey.
I think that'll be a lesson learnt in four years’ time, if and when I'm there in four years’ time, to cut the program down a bit.
With his parents watching on from the stands, having arrived with just four minutes to spare after a whirlwind trip from Adelaide, Cowdrey now has the chance to finish with six gold and eight medals in total, as a member of the medley relay team tomorrow night.
“It would have been a little bit embarrassing if they came all this way and I hadn't of swum too well, so that definitely takes a bit of pressure off,” said Cowdrey.
“They got here this afternoon, from my understanding, and got to the pool tonight. It's the first time they've been to a Paralympic Games, first time they've been to a stadium with 18,000 people, I guess.”
The shock of the night saw Ellie Cole win her third gold medal of the meet in the women’s 100m freestyle (S9), swimming over the top of Spain’s Sarai Gascon to hit the wall in a personal best 1:02.77, with Annabelle Williams seventh in 1:05.73.
Swimming some four seconds quicker than her time from Beijing in the same event, Cole paid tribute to her coach Jon Shaw after the race as well Paralympic legend Natalie du Toit who finished second in 1:03:45.
"I feel really bad about beating Natalie I know I should be stoked. I wanted her to do really well,” said Cole.
“I did a bit of research before my race on her today and I noted she had won 12 Paralympic gold medals. I thought 'ok I am up against that tonight'. It was an amazing swim everything went to plan.
"It is strange to know you are the fastest in the world at something. It is quite overwhelming actually.
Prue Watt finished fifth in the final of the women’s 200m IM (SM13) in a time of 2:34.77 while Teigan van Roosmalen was sixth overall in 2:36.61.
Aaron Rhind finished seventh in men’s 50m butterfly (S6) in a time of 34.07, while Sarah Rose finished sixth in the corresponding women’s event in 40.43. The men’s 200m IM (SM13) saw Sean Russo finish eight in a time of 2:17.18.
Australian Swim Team Medal Tally – Day 9
Gold 17, Silver 7, Bronze 11, Total 35