PLYMOUTH Leander’s Reece Dunn enjoyed a tremendous debut at the National Para-Swimming Championships in Manchester at the weekend.
The 23-year-old, competing in the S14 class, won three gold medals, smashed two national records and beat an Paralympic silver medallist.
Dunn’s first success came in the 100m freestyle, where he destroyed the national record and all his rivals with a 52.01 second swim. Thomas Hamer, who was third in the race behind Dunn and Jordan Catchpole, was the previous British record holder with 53.53 seconds.
Dunn then did the same in the 100m butterfly, clocking 56.96 seconds and finishing more than four seconds ahead of previous record holder Catchpole.
The Leander swimmer then made it a hat-trick of not only category wins but also multi-class titles in the 200m freestyle where he beat Rio silver medallist and 2016 European champion Hamer to victory with a 1:59.29 swim.
Dunn will now be seen as a major contender for the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo.
A number of other local swimmers, who will have their eyes on Paris 2024 and beyond, also competed at Manchester at the weekend.
Mount Kelly’s Alexander Hobbs, Sebastian Williams and Benjamin Grainger and Devonport Royal’s Xander Harris and Abigail Daly all returned with medals.
Williams and Harris enjoyed some great battles against each other in the 14-17 year-old S6 category. The class was dominated by Bournemouth’s Leo McCrea, who claimed seven gold medals, but in nearly every event Williams and Harris were fighting for the silver and bronze medals.
All Saints Academy pupil Harris took second in the 100m freestyle (1:27.48), 50m freestyle (38.29) and 50m butterfly (45.73) and third in the 200m IM (3:57.63), 100m breaststroke (2:10.02) and 400m freestyle (7:18.75).
Williams was second in the 200m IM (3:47.24), 100m breaststroke (2:05.48) and 400m freestyle (6:50.74) and came third in the 100m freestyle (1:29.92), 50m freestyle (42.10), 100m backstroke (1:53.75) and 50m butterfly (51.71).
Mount Kelly’s Grainger was dominant in the 14-17 years’ S10 class. He won the 100m freestyle (1:02.11), 200m IM (2:40.18), 50m freestyle (28.55) and 100m breaststroke (1:19.05) in his class and also took second in the 400m freestyle (4:48.77), where he was also a multi-class medal winner.
Club team-mate Alexander Hobbs led the way in the 10-13 year-old boys’ S7 class. He clocked 1:40.25 for the 100m freestyle, 45.34 for the 50m freestyle, 1:37.24 for the 100m backstroke, where he was a multi-class medal winner, and 7:10.49 for the 400m freestyle.
Devonport’s Daly, who attends Longcause Community Special School, came third in the 10-13 girls’ S14 100m freestyle (1:16.68), 100m butterfly (1:36.42), 200m freestyle (2:47.04) and 100m backstroke (1:33.03). She also claimed two multi-class third places after recovering from two earlier disqualifications.
Devonport Royal’s Andrew Keeler also competed in Manchester in the men’s S14 category where he was up against Paralympic, World, European, Commonwealth and British champions. However, he put in some solid swims in the 100m breaststroke and 100m butterfly events.