13 September 2019

Comeback kid Whiston smashes world record at debut World Championships

From starting slowest off the blocks, way back in seventh and five seconds behind, Brock Whiston roared to S8 200m medley gold in world record time at the World Para Swimming Championships.

The 22-year-old wrote her name in the history books on major Championship debut, breaking Jessica Long’s seven-year world mark with a medley race for the ages at the London Aquatics Centre.

Alice Tai, who has hoarded six medals this week, shot out and led by nearly four seconds at the halfway mark. But it was on the breaststroke leg that Whiston pounced.

Mere miles from her home pool in Barking, she laid down a 37.30 secs split to break a record 15-time Paralympic champion Long set just before London 2012. She won by nearly five seconds.

“It’s not quite sunk in yet, but it feels incredible,” said Whiston.

“The first half is always my weakest part. I had to hold and stay strong, knowing my breaststroke is strong and I could pull it back.

“To race Jess and Alice, the two best S8s in the world, and win gold is amazing. Jess’ world record is incredible and to now hold it, I just couldn’t ask for anything more.

“I watched London 2012 and I remember Ellie Simmonds’ 400m freestyle and to be here, following in her footsteps, is incredible.”

Tai, whose marathon week is now over, added: “My coach’s gameplan was go out hard and if you die, at least you died trying. I got halfway down that breaststroke leg and I couldn’t feel my body.”

Paralympic gold medallist Beth Firth was on the podium once again

There were a succession of silvers for Britain on the penultimate night of racing, with Reece Dunn setting a European record on route to the SM14 200m individual medley rostrum.

Dunn, who grabbed 200m freestyle gold and a world record on opening night, led at the half, turning for breaststroke on 59.16 but lost out to Japan’s Dai Tokairin, who set a world record.

“I’m very pleased with the result,” said the Plymouth star.

“Obviously I’m always a little bit disappointed not to come first but for an event that is probably my weakest, I’m delighted.

“It’s the second fastest time I’ve done it in for about ten years so you can’t really complain about that.”

Home heroes formed the majority of the podium in the women’s SM14 medley, with Bethany Firth pushing Russia’s Valeriia Shabalina all the way to secure silver, her fourth individual medal this week.

Louise Fiddes finished in the bronze medal position with a 2:26.05 clocking, a personal best.

There was a fifth medal of the Championships for rising star Toni Shaw, sneaking onto the podium in the SM9 200m medley with 2:36.93.

And Paralympic champion Ellie Robinson played her part in one of the races of the night, the S6 50m butterfly, in which China’s Yuyan Jiang set another world record and she claimed silver.

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