Published: Sep 2, 2012 12:04:51 PM Updated: Sep 28, 2012 10:19:24 AM
Blake Cochrane has had to wait four years to achieve his goal of a Paralympic gold medal, and the long wait was over in a world record time of 1:18.77 at the Aquatic Centre tonight.
A silver medallist in Beijing, the 21-year-old has won every 100m breaststroke (SB7) title available over the last three years including breaking the world record now five times along the way.
Racing Beijing champion and crowd favourite Sascha Kinred and Japanese sensation Tomotaro Nakamura as well as fellow Aussie Matt Levy, Cochrane led from block to stop to claim Australia’s fifth gold medal at the pool with Levy winning bronze in 1:22.62.
“Coming into tonight I was hoping to go under that one minute 19 mark and break that world record, so jumping into that pool I wasn’t too great on the breakout or the turn, but I came home strong and got the result,” said Cochrane.
“Coming into this meet this was my main event and it was first up, I was a little bit eager to get out there and I was a little bit nervous this morning, but I’ve definitely been chasing this one for the last four years.”
Having won Australia’s fifth gold medal in the pool and 14th medal in total, Cochrane said he was really happy to keep the momentum going for the swim team.
“The Australian Swim Team had a few high expectations coming into this meet and we had a few top three in the world rankings, and to come here and have five gold after three days, we definitely can’t complain about that.”
For triple Paralympian Matt Levy the bronze was his first individual medal at a Games and long overdue for one of the hardest working members of the team.
“It’s fantastic to win my first individual Paralympic medal and really great to get there finally with this being my third Games, but it’s also great to start of the meet with a few PBs and it’s great to know that the hard work has paid off.”
Swimming in his first ever Paralympic breaststroke final, Matt Cowdrey won his third medal of the Games and second silver in a new personal best time of 1:09.88. Racing the Beijing Paralympic champion and world record holder, Cowdrey said he will use the confidence from tonight’s swim to prepare for the 200m IM later in the week.
“This is first time that I’ve raced the breaststroke and it’s pretty exciting for me to get out there and get a medal in that, and to be honest my expectations were pretty low in that event. It’s all about the medley later in the week and the fact that I’m competitive now in the breaststroke is something that is really exciting,” said Cowdrey.
“I really enjoyed that race and to walk away with a silver there really surpassed my expectations.”
Cowdrey will now switch his attention to the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay which starts tomorrow morning, with the Australian’s looking get one up on Team GB who took gold in Beijing.
“It’s an exciting prospect for us the freestyle relay after just going down to the Brits by point two of a second in Beijing and just about the same margin four years before that in Athens,” said Cowdrey.
“I’ve been part of that team for the last two times and that one really stung us pretty badly, so as a team I think this one is a pretty motivating prospect for us.”
Prue Watt started her Paralympic campaign with bronze in the women’s 50m freestyle (S13) finishing in 27.84 while Teigan van Roosmalen swam a one second personal best to finish in 28.40 and her first time under 29 seconds.
“I was very happy with that and it’s always going to be a close race in the 50 but I was really hoping to get amongst the medals and am just really happy that I was able to do that tonight,” said Watt.
In the men’s 50m freestyle (S13) Tim Antalfy followed on from his bronze medal last night to finish fourth in 24.26.
Andrew Pasterfield started the night for Australia in the men’s 100m butterfly (S10) finishing seventh in 59.49, while Kat Downie had to contend with another world record swim from Kiwi Sophie Pascoe (1:04.43) to finish 5th overall in the women’s 100m butterfly (S10) in 1:10.20.
Seventeen-year-old Reagan Wickens notched up his best performance at the Paralympics so far finishing fourth in the men’s 400m freestyle (S6), backing up from a strong heat swim to finish in 5:28.56 with Great Britain’s Matthew Whorwood taking bronze in 5:11.59.
Australian Swimming Medal Tally – Day 3
Gold 5, Silver 3, Bronze 6
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