The New Zealand Para Swimming Team started as they mean to go on in Cairns with a gold and bronze medal on day 1 of the Pan Pacific Para Swimming Championships. Rio 2016 Paralympians Hamish McLean and Jesse Reynolds were the first two Para swimmers to stand on the podium at the Team’s pinnacle event for 2018.
Hamish McLean took gold nearly 30 seconds ahead of silver medallist Talisson Glock (Brazil). With a time of 5:34.58, his best since swimming the Men’s 400m Freestyle S6 at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Hamish McLean said: “This was a good first race of the meet and I’m looking forward to the rest of the competition. My race plan was just to build towards the end of the 400 and then finish all out. I’m just proud to represent New Zealand and bring home a medal.” He continued: “I’m really loving my swimming at the moment. I’m looking forward to the 100m Freestyle tomorrow and being part of a team in the relay event.”
McLean’s result is made more impressive tonight as he has taken time this year to focus on starting an engineering degree at the University of Canterbury. While he has continued his training his University study has been his primary focus. He says: “The year leading into this competition has been pretty hectic with starting University and continuing with my Para swimming training. It has been great to be able to have a space in our team apartment keep up with my university studies along with my team mates Bryall and Celyn.”
The success continued throughout the finals with fellow Rio 2016 Paralympian Jesse Reynolds winning bronze in the Men’s 100m Breaststroke SB8, followed just over 2 seconds behind by team mate Celyn Edwards in 4th place.
Graeme Maw (Para Swimming Programme Leader) said: ”It was a great start on our first day of competition with 2 medals and Hamish, Jesse and Celyn performing well. It provides a great basis for the Team to build on during the meet. We are looking forward to a big day tomorrow with 6 Para swimmers in the pool.”
Day 2 of racing (10 August) for the New Zealand Team will see:
Heats at 12.00 NZT - Women’s 100m free: Amanda Lowry, Sophie Pascoe
Heats at 12.16pm NZT Men’s 100m free: Hamish McLean, Chris Arbuthnott
Final at 8.23pm NZT - Men’s 34pt 400m Medley Relay: Jesse Reynolds, Celyn Edwards, Chris Arbuthnott, Hamish McLean
Live streaming is available here.