Frederiksen leads medal rush in the pool

Heather Frederiksen turned in an emphatic performance to retain her Paralympic S8 100m Backstroke title on day six of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

The world record holder had qualified fastest for the final by more than four seconds as she looked to add to her S8 400m Freestyle silver from earlier in the Games.

Russia’s Olesya Vladykina led the race out but Frederiksen began to assert her dominance at the half-way stage, turning first in an S8 50m Backstroke world record 37.05 seconds.

And the Briton powered clear down the back 50m, winning by a body length as she touched in one minute 17.00 seconds from USA’s Jessica Long (1:18.67) and Vladykina (1:20.20).

“That race was absolutely everything to me,” said the Merseysider. “Yesterday I was really nervous coming in to it, I was nervous this morning and I was nervous again tonight.

“But I was determined that I was going to fight to win it and that’s what I did.

“I knew I had to go out strong and I had a funny feeling the girls were catching me down the last 25m and last 15m because the crowd were getting louder and louder.

“So I just had to keep pushing and get to that wall.”

Stephanie Millward won her third medal of the Games with a European record in the S9 400m Freestyle.

The world silver medallist had qualified second fastest for the final and saw off the challenge of Australia’s Ellie Cole (4:42.87) to take silver behind South Africa’s defending champion Natalie du Toit (4:30.18).

Millward eventually knocked more than two seconds off her old European marker with a time of 4:40.01 to add to her S9 100m Backstroke silver and 34pt 4x100m Freestyle Relay bronze from earlier in the Games.

“I tried to use Natalie as my pacer and in the end, that was an absolutely fantastic result,” said Swansea-based Millward.

“I knew I had a really good back end and on that last 50m I was trying not to get too excited but I thought, she’s not going to catch me on this.

“Natalie came up to me after the race and said ‘Well done Stephanie’.”

Matthew Walker won his 12th Paralympic medal, his first of London 2012, with bronze in the S7 50m Freestyle.

The world and European champion improved on his heat swim to clock 28.47 seconds in the final and finish behind USA’s Lantz Lamback (27.84) and China’s Pan Shiyun (28.09).

The 34 year old has now won individual medals at four consecutive Paralympic Games and admitted he couldn’t have given any more in pursuit of a fourth Paralympic gold.

“The young guns are fast and I’m getting on a bit now but I did my best and it’s another medal to add to the 11 I’ve already got,” said Walker.

“I wanted to get a gold but I gave it everything and couldn’t have done any more.

“Everybody knows that it’s been tough for me this season but it’s splash and dash and I didn’t have enough in me in those last five metres. I was kicking so hard and giving it absolutely everything.

“I swam my heart out and that’s all I could have done. It’s a medal and at these Games the competition is really, really tough.”

Jonathan Fox and 15-year old Josef Craig both set their second personal bests of the day as they finished sixth and seventh respectively in the same final.

S7 100m Backstroke champion Fox touched in 28.87 while Craig, competing at his first Paralympics, came home in 29.39.

Ellie Simmonds added an unexpected S6 50m Freestyle bronze to her burgeoning London 2012 medal tally.

The 17 year old, who has also won S6 400m Freestyle and SM6 200m Individual Medley at the Games, admitted she hadn’t prioritised the short sprint despite being world champion in the event.

But having qualified fourth fastest, Simmonds put herself in the mix and snatched her third medal of the Games at the death, beating Germany’s Tanja Groepper by just 0.17 as she finished in a season’s best 36.11.

“That’s a massive surprise really because this is my fourth best event and I was going in fourth,” said Simmonds.

“I was hoping to go for a personal best but I think a bronze medal overtakes that at my home Paralympic Games.

“I’m just so happy to be on the podium again and it sets me up really nicely for my 100m Freestyle.”

Oliver Hynd scooped his second Paralympic medal of his debut Games with bronze in the S8 100m Backstroke.

The 17 year old, who won S8 400m Freestyle silver on the second day in London, held off teammates Thomas Young and Sean Fraser in the closing metres to clock a season’s best 1:08.35.

Russia’s Konstantin Lisenkov (1:05.43) and Denis Tarasov (1:06.93) had qualified in first and second and claimed the top two spots on the podium.

But the battle between the British trio had the home crowd in raptures as world bronze medallist Young ultimately came fourth in 1:08.91 and defending Paralympic bronze medallist fifth in 1:09.67.

“I’m actually not that happy with the time,” said Hynd. “I wanted to go a bit faster than that but I’m still on the podium so I’m obviously delighted with another medal.

“I’ve got another big race tomorrow so I’ll go back and rest as much as I can now for that.”

Fresh from opening her Paralympic account with two bronze medals on day five, Susie Rodgers impressed to finish fourth in the S7 50m Freestyle.

In what is on paper the weakest of her five individual events at London 2012, the Brit improved on her heat time to clock 34.08 – finishing just 0.78 short of Ukraine’s Ana Palian in third.

Having already won two medals, 16 year old Hannah Russell finished sixth in her third final of her debut Games.

The S12 swimmer was only 0.16 seconds shy off the time that saw her qualify fastest from the 100m Freestyle heats as she clocked 1:02.36 in the final.

James Clegg beat his British record for the second time in the day as he finished eighth in the S12 100m Freestyle.

The 18 year old, who landed S12 100m Butterfly bronze earlier in the Games, lowered his record to qualify seventh fastest for the final then knocked another 0.11 off it as he touched in 55.94.

James Crisp also finished eighth in his third final of the Games, the S9 400m Freestyle.

Competing at his third Paralympics, the 29 year old has already won S9 100m Backstroke silver at the Games and after a season’s best 4:26.03 to qualify, he swam a similar paced final to touch in 4:26.61.

For more news and pictures from London 2012 go to the ParalympicsGB website:

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