Swimmers on five medals

Ellie Simmonds was in a class of her own as she smashed her own SM6 200m Individual Medley world record to claim her second gold of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Having broken her world record to qualify fastest for the final, the 17 year old lowered her marker by another 1.58 seconds in the final, touching in three minutes 5.39 seconds.

Ukraine’s Oksana Khrul turned first into the final length, but there was never any doubt that Simmonds would overtake as she surged past, eventually finishing 8.89 seconds clear of Germany’s Verena Schott in second.

The teenager, who successfully defended her S6 400m Freestyle title earlier in the Games, has now won two golds from two events with the defence of her Paralympic S6 100m Freestyle title still to come in London.

Simmonds insists she’s feeling on top of the world after such an encouraging start to her home Games.

“I’m really chuffed and I can’t believe I’ve PB’d in every race,” said Simmonds. “It’s great to be on form at the biggest meet of my life.

“I knew I was on good form after a world record this morning. I’m so happy to come tonight and take another second off my PB. It’s great to swim so well in front of a home crowd and in one of my main events.

“It’s always good to be nervous and have my emotions going because that brings the best out in me.”

Natalie Jones followed Simmonds home to claim the fifth Paralympic medal of her career with bronze.

The former world and Paralympic champion also passed Khrul in the final length, finishing just 0.01 seconds behind Schott in a season’s best 3:14.29.

“I can’t believe how close it was,” said Jones. “One hundredth of a second – that’s amazing. I could see her coming and I tried so hard to stay ahead of her but I just couldn’t.

“But it was phenomenal to be out there and I’m really pleased to get on the podium here.”

Competing in her first final of the Games, Liz Johnson also clocked a season’s best as she finished sixth in 3:25.64.

Sascha Kindred won the 12th Paralympic medal of his career with silver in the SM6 200m Individual Medley.

Defending champion from the last three Games, Kindred was locked in a battle with China’s Xu Qing throughout the final with both swimmers ultimately sailing under Kindred’s world record.

And while it was Xu who took the touch on 2:38.62, Kindred admitted he couldn’t have done much more after a personal best 2:41.50, which now stands as the European record.

“It was a personal best time on the biggest stage of my life so I can’t argue with that,” said Kindred. “It was a European record and it took a new world record to beat me.

“The Chinese guy got bronze in Beijing and I got the gold on his home turf, and now he’s turned it round so hats off to him. He had a great swim.”

Matthew Whorwood set his second PB of the day as he finished fifth in the same final, the S6 400m Freestyle bronze medallist eventually touching in 2:53.08.

It was third time lucky for European champion Susie Rodgers as she claimed her first Paralympic medal in her third final of the Games.

Competing at her debut Paralympics, the 29 year old improved on her heat time as she held off Ukraine’s Ani Palian to touch in the final podium position in 1:12.61.

And Rodgers admitted that she was delighted not to miss out on a medal.

“It was brilliant, absolutely fantastic,” said the swimmer form Stockton-on-Tees. “It was a tough race but I just didn’t want to come fourth again so that was my aim.

“The crowd were fantastic, that was the best thing ever. It is fantastic to be on the podium in front of the home crowd.”

Rodgers was back in action later in the evening to win the bronze medal in the 34pts 4x100m Freestyle Relay.

The British quartet of Claire Cashmore (S9), Stephanie Millward (S9), Rodgers (S7) and Louise Watkin (S9) put in a brave battle against the USA and just missed out on the silver.

The Brits came home in 4.24.71 to the USA’s 4.24.57. The gold medal went to Australia who stormed to victory in a world record 4.20.39.

“It was a tough race, we tried our best,” said Rodgers.

Millward added: “ We swam really well, we had a fantastic swim but so did other teams. We’re pleased with that.”

Josef Craig and Jonathan Fox both set personal bests to finish fourth and fifth in the S7 100m Freestyle final.

On his Paralympic debut, 15-year old Craig looked at home as he swam a controlled opening 50m before edging past his teammate and touching in 1:02.20 – just 0.70 seconds shy of USA’s bronze medallist Lantz Lamback.

Having set a personal best in the heats, Fox improved again as he came home just behind Craig in 1:02.26.

Thomas Young broke the British record twice in two races as he came seventh in the S8 50m Freestyle.

After qualifying joint seventh for the final, the Paralympic debutant sliced another 0.1 seconds off the record to finish his fourth event of the Games in 27.71.

Finally, James Anderson was eighth in his first final of his sixth Paralympic Games. The 59-year old, who has won 17 medals at the past five Paralympics, finished in 2:31.33.

Get more Paralympic news from www.paralympics.org.uk/gb.

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