Posted on Friday 13th September, 2019

Cameron Leslie has produced an incredible performance to set a new World Record and claim the Gold Medal in the Men’s S4 50m Freestyle at the World Para Swimming Championships in London.

Having qualified in second place, just behind rival Takayuki Suzuki from Japan, the two went stroke for stroke for two thirds of the final race before the Northland swimmer edged ahead to break the record which has stood since 2004.

Leslie stopped the clock in 37.14 seconds, just under half a second ahead of Suzuki and over one and a half seconds faster than his swim in the heat.

Leslie says he was so focused on achieving a personal best that he had little idea of the enormity of what he’d just achieved. ‘It was a weird one, it was similar to the backstroke yesterday, I was trying to hold my rating higher for longer, so I was just focused on being in the water and getting good purchase from each stroke.“

“I didn’t know what the world record was before that race, which was similar to Beijing when I broke the world record in the IM, I had no idea I broke it, I was just chasing a personal best.“

Leslie says he also wasn’t too aware of whether he’d managed to get ahead of the Silver Medallist. “I wasn’t too aware of what was going on around me, I was just doing what I can do.“

“I could sort of see splashes next to me, but I wasn’t pausing for long enough to see where he was. It’s been the story of our careers, Suzuki and I have always been neck and neck pretty much every race that we’ve done.“

Leslie’s new personal best is also a mark that he’d been chasing since early in his career. “I don’t even remember the PB from nine years ago, but it’s awesome to get that monkey off my back. It’s my oldest PB and I look at that time and I think, it’s not that great. I’d be happy if it was nine years old and it was a really good time, but I look at it and go, yeah, I can do better and get a fresh PB for that race.“

Aucklands Tupou Neiufi swam a personal best of 31.85 in the morning’s heat of the Women’s 50 m Freestyle S8 to qualify in 8th position for the final, before stopping the clock in the final at 32.08 and finishing 8th in the world.

Swimming in the Men’s 50m Freestyle S6 Hamish McLean was just four hundredths of a second off a personal best to finish in 12th position and miss out on the night’s finals.

Find out here how to watch the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships and read this article to know more about the New Zealand Para Swimming Team.

Full wrap for DAY 1 available here.

Full wrap for DAY 2 available here.

Full wrap for DAY 3 available here.

Full wrap for DAY 4 available here.