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Paralympics New Zealand swimmer Sophie Pascoe has blown away the competition today to win gold in a new world record time at the Pan Pacific Para-Swimming Championships in Edmonton, Canada.
Pascoe, who has arrived at the Pan Pacific Championships via altitude training in Flagstaff, Arizona has shown the benefit of the hard work to power away in the 100m Butterfly S10 and finish with a time of 1:07.57, eclipsing her own world record by half a second. Pascoe showed her strength from start to finish in the race turning at the 50m mark with a one second lead, she doubled this over the last lap to finish a full two seconds ahead of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games gold medallist in this event, Anna Eames of the United States.
The result capped another action packed day from the New Zealand team. Daniel Holt of Auckland and Nikita Howarth of the Waikato added to the New Zealand haul of silver medals in the 400m Freestyle S13 classification and 50m Butterfly S7 respectively, both in personal best times. Howarth’s result shows impressive potential for the future given the 12 year old is contesting her first major international meet competing against senior athletes.
Daniel Sharp and Bryall McPherson both of Auckland rounded out the New Zealand medal winners for the day. McPherson took the bronze in the 100m butterfly S8 classification. Sharp, in the fiercely contested 50m freestyle S13 classification hit the wall in personal best, 24.90 seconds under four tenths of a second behind the winner Charl Bouwer of South Africa taking the bronze medal. This result is in the top five times recorded worldwide over the last 2 years.
Paralympics New Zealand swimming Programme Director, Clive Power said “we have put in a lot of positive work in over the last couple of years to get to this point, 12 months out from the London Paralympics Games, and we will be treating these results as a marker looking ahead to London”.
WHAT IS CLASSIFICATION?
Classification is a structure for competition. Paralympic athletes have an impairment in body structures and functions that leads to a competitive disadvantage in sport. Consequently, criteria are put in place to ensure that winning is determined by skill, fitness, power, endurance, tactical ability and mental focus, the same factors that account for success in sport for athletes who are able-bodied. Athletes are grouped in classes defined by the degree of function related to the impairment and/or specific to the tasks in the sport.