25 April 2019
Emotional Simmonds secures world qualifying standard with Glasgow gold
Five-time Paralympic champion Ellie Simmonds could not hide her emotions after clinching gold at the World Para Swimming World Series in Glasgow.
The 24-year-old, who swims in the S6 category, came within a whisker of breaking her own British record as she topped the podium in 5:19.27 in the multi-class women’s 400m freestyle.
Simmonds finished just half a second outside her previous best time as she secured the qualifying standard set by British Para-Swimming for this year’s World Championships in London.
And having taken a break from the sport in 2017, Simmonds was delighted to achieve the standard after missing out on the standard in the SM6 200m individual medley a day earlier.
“It feels amazing,” she said. “To go 5.19, nearly a personal best after having a year off from the sport, when my aim for this meet was just to qualify for London - I want to cry.
“I’m so emotional and so happy. I wanted it so badly in my heart - I want to go to the World Championships and I wanted to do it for everyone who supports me.
Simmonds in action in Glasgow
“To have the World Champs in my home pool, where I train each and every day and to hopefully get picked for the team now and to represent Great Britain at another World Champs, I’m so excited.”
Simmonds’ time was worth 957 points and ensured she took gold ahead of S10 Paralympic champion Aurelie Rivard of Canada, with Poland’s S10 Oliwia Jablonska landing bronze.
Just outside the medals was fellow Brit Maisie Summers-Newton, who finished in fourth with 899 points after breaking her own world record in the SM6 200m individual medley.
Another S6 swimmer in exceptional form was Paralympic champion Ellie Robinson, who blew away her rivals in the MC 50m butterfly to win gold in 36.20 seconds.
Her time was also inside the British Para-Swimming consideration time for the World Championships in September, but the 17-year-old insists there’s still more to come.
I wanted it so badly in my heart - I want to go to the World Championships and I wanted to do it for everyone who supports me.
“It’s reassuring to know that I swam the qualifying time for Worlds,” she said. “I would have liked to have gone a little bit faster, I guess athletes’ are never really happy with their performances.
“They always see faults and where they can get better. Going into competitions I always have a few nerves but when I’m in the call room I don’t really have those doubts any more.
“I’m quite relieved as when we were doing all the promotion for London I was like ‘I’ve got to qualify now’. But I’m really, really excited to have a home championships.”
Elsewhere, Jessica-Jane Applegate and Louise Fiddes secured a GB one-two in the women’s MC 200m freestyle in a race that came right down to the wire.
The duo were neck-and-neck throughout before London 2012 Paralympic champion Applegate prevailed, stopping the clock at 2.07.35 to 2018 World Series champion Fiddes’ 2.07.68.
Simmonds celebrates her gold medal
They were rewarded with 881 and 874 points, respectively, while they both secured the standard for September’s global championships, with Fiddes also setting a new personal best.
“That has given me a huge boost as I was doubting myself in the 200 – I’ve not PB’d for four years in this event, so getting back down close to my PB I’m really happy,” said Applegate.
“If I can take away what I need to work on then hopefully I’ll beat it again one day – I’m not giving up until I beat it.”
Meanwhile, Mikey Jones added to GB’s gold medal success in the men’s MC 400m freestyle, having bettered the London 2019 consideration time to qualify fastest in his heat.
He clocked 4:50.56 in the final, just a second slower than his time in the morning, to score 886 points and finish top of the podium, with GB’s Lewis White bagging bronze.
Returning to top class competition for the first time since reclassification to an S9, Ollie Hynd – a three-time Paralympic champion at S8 - just missed out on a medal in fourth.
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