British swimmers impress

Hannah Russell in action in the women’s 400m freestyle S12 heats.

LONDON – The Aquatics Centre was hardly a happy hunting ground for British swimmers at the Olympic Games but if the first morning is anything to go by it will be quite the opposite at the Paralympics, with Jon Fox, Nyree Kindred and Hannah Russell leading the charge in a qualifying session that saw two world and two Paralympic records set.

Of the 14 British swimmers in action, an impressive 11 return to contest the finals tonight and if the trio of Fox, Kindred and Russell keep up this form then the home crowd will surely have some medal-winning performances to applaud.

Fox broke his own world record in the S7 men’s 100m backstroke and Kindred set a new Paralympic record but it was the performance of 16 year-old Russell that was the most impressive. She shaved three seconds off her personal best to utterly dominate the S12 400m freestyle.

Russell was swimming within world record pace for part of her swim but eventually slowed to finish in 4 min 41.25sec, some 5.47 sec ahead of second-placed Deborah Font of Spain.

Her impaired vision means that when she swims all she can make out are the flags that hang above the pool and the black markings at the bottom but the noise emanating from the home stands was all she needed to acknowledge to realise she had done something special.

“I’m really, really pleased to knock three seconds off my personal best and I hope to do better tonight,” she said.

“I’ve been training really, really hard and to come here and perform my best is really exciting.”

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