PLYMOUTH Leander’s Reece Dunn claimed a second relay gold for Great Britain at the World Para-Swimming Championships in Madeira on Friday, while there was an individual silver medal for Mount Kelly’s Leo McCrea.
Multi-Paralympic champion Dunn had anchored GB’s mixed S14 4x100m freestyle relay team home to victory on Wednesday evening and two days later he helped the mixed S14 medley relay team to a dramatic gold.
Spectators in Madeira were treated to the most exhilarating of sporting contests with the relay event coming down to 0.01 seconds between Great Britain and Australia.
The British quartet was led out by Poppy Maskill on the backstroke, with Scott Quin taking over on the breaststroke to provide a solid opening platform for the team, however the Australians appeared to have amounted an unassailable lead for gold at the halfway point after front loading their relay team.
But in dived Plymouth’s Paralympic star Dunn, who cut the deficit down to three-and-a-half seconds, before Bethany Firth set about chasing down the competition in the finest of anchoring performances. After first picking off the Brazilians to move up into second, Firth was hauling in the Aussies with every stroke and had just enough pool to do so as she got to the wall in a time of 4:09.29 – taking gold by a mere hundredth of a second.
Dunn, who has excelled in his relay contributions this week, said: “You always swim well for relays, they’re a bit more exciting and give you a bit more adrenaline.
“We knew it was going to be close coming into the finish but Bethany on that last leg was amazing. When I saw the touch it was pandemonium.”
Firth added: “This team is amazing. We have so many S14s so just to make the team is amazing, I didn’t want to let them down and we got the gold. I was so glad to touch first, I didn’t have a clue we had won until Reece started screaming.”
Meanwhile, Mount Kelly’s McCrea won the silver medal in the SB5 100m breaststroke in Funchal.
The 18-year-old Paralympian, competing for Switzerland, swam a personal best 1:32.75 to claim his first world podium placing.
“I’m very happy about it,” said McCrea. “The race went really well and I swam faster than in Tokyo.”
In Madeira, McCrea wanted to focus on his chosen discipline and his plan worked.
“I don’t really realize it yet, but it’s a very special moment for me,” admits the 18-year-old.
There was also an encouraging Great Britain debut at a major championships by Leander’s Cameron Vearncombe.
Having just missed out on reaching the S14 100m breaststroke final earlier in the week, he did make the 200m IM final, where he finished seventh in 2:16.88. He had swam 2:16.19 in the heats to reach a competitive final.
The championships conclude on Saturday, with Dunn due to compete in the individual 100m butterfly event.
Huge shout out to @LeoMcCreaPLY Who secured World Championships Silver Medal in the SB5 100 Breaststroke today! @Mount_Kelly are very proud! #mkfamily #impossibletoignore #turneduptookover #boardingschool @emmacollings24 pic.twitter.com/PCFt7v2bCT
— Mount Kelly Swimming (@MountKellySwim) June 17, 2022