Aquatics / Olympics

Plymouth’s Dunn delighted to win Paralympic title in world record time

PLYMOUTH’S Reece Dunn described winning a Paralympic gold medal as ‘amazing’.

Dunn broke his own world record to triumph in the men’s S14 200m freestyle title in Tokyo on Friday morning.

The Plymouth Leander swimmer clocked 1:52.40 to hold off the challenge of Brazilian Gabriel Bandeira, who had beaten him to gold in the 100m butterfly event on Wednesday.

Dunn, coached at the Life Centre by Robin Armayan, said having missed out on gold in the butterfly had provided him with extra motivation to win his favourite 200m freestyle event.

“After the disappointment on Wednesday, it gave me more fuel and motivation for that race,” said a delighted Dunn.

“It’s amazing – this is the one I trained for and put all my effort into in training. It’s a world record as well, so it feels good.”

He added: “I knew he (Bandeira) would be strong in that back 50m, so I needed to put him under pressure for the first 150m, make him burn some energy trying to catch me, but I was hurting.

“The first 150m was strong though, it’s not bad with 12 weeks training post-Covid.”

Dunn now has a gold and silver to his name on his Paralympic Games debut and still more events to come.

There was also a gold on Friday morning for former Mount Kelly pupil Hannah Russell.

She successfully defended her women’s S12 100m backstroke title.

Afterwards Russell said: “It’s absolutely incredible. To defend my Paralympic title here in Tokyo is a dream come true, really.

“I’ve had a few difficult years, I overcame them and I trained so hard this past few years, the hardest I’ve ever trained. To be able to top the podium is surreal.

“For me, taking a bit of time out around 2018 and 2019 was really important for me, it was important for my mental health.

“I really wanted to prove to people to never give up, always believe in your ability. I thought to myself I really wanted to make Tokyo. I had the support of British Swimming, the support of my family and my close friends and here I am. This is to tell everyone, always believe in your ability.”

Meanwhile away from the Paralympics, Ben Proud impressed on the opening night of the International Swimming League (ISL) in Napoli, Italy.  Proud easily won the 50m freestyle event in 21.15 seconds. Plymouth’s Laura Stephens came eighth in the 100m butterfly.

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