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Swimming - 13. May 2007.


Great Britain had its most successful Visa Paralympic World Cup yet in the pool with an impressive haul of seven gold medals, six silvers and five bronzes.

Great Britain kicked off a terrific session at the Manchester Aquatics Centre with two clean sweeps of medals this afternoon (Saturday).

Natalie Jones (Colchester Phoenix), Nyree Lewis (Leominster) and Liz Johnson (Swansea) repeated the feat in the women's SM6 200m Individual Medley event.

In the next race reigning world and Paralympic champion Natalie Jones won Britain's second gold medal of the day as she led home another impressive clean sweep.

The 22-year-old Colchester Phoenix swimmer won a terrific race in 3:18.98, with Lewis taking silver in 3:22.73 in a repeat of the first two placings at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games. Liz Johnson took bronze in a personal best of 3:25.31.

"I'm really pleased with the time and result," said Jones. "I've been working quite hard in training and it's probably the third fastest time I've ever done. I could see Liz and Nyree ahead of me at the last turn, but knew I could make it up in the last length.

"This was my only final today so that made me even more determined to go out and win it."

Lewis added: "It was a close race and it's always a great atmosphere when you're all chasing each other."

Johnson said: "I got a PB in that, which I'm really pleased with because I'm doing my university finals at the moment, so training hasn't been a priority for me recently."

Fran Williamson (Colchester Phoenix) won Britain's fourth gold. She made a strong start in the S3 50m Backstroke and never slackened off, winning in 1:06.89.

She said: "I wasn't expecting to do so well so I'm pleased. I've had a shoulder injury and been out for two months - it's still niggling a bit but I'm almost there.

"All my races in Durban [at the world championships] were PBs but that was one of my fastest times."

Nyree Lewis confirmed the event as the most successful Visa Paralympic World Cup yet for Britain's swimmers when she won GB's sixth gold of the day, taking the S6 100m Backstroke gold in 1.30.32.

Claire Cashmore produced a fine finish to take silver in the S9 100m Freestyle behind powerful South African Natalie Du Toit. Cashmore snatched silver from British team-mate Louise Watkin, taking 2/100ths of a second off the British record, setting a new benchmark of 1:07.53 in the process. Watkin won a bronze in 1:07.78.

Cashmore said of her British record: "I wasn't expecting that at all. My training is so hard at the moment and I haven't been swimming that well so far this year, so that was a real boost."

Earlier Watkin finished eighth in the women's multi-disability 100m Freestyle. South Africa's Natalie Du Toit took gold.

Rachael Latham added silver behind Jessica Long of the USA in the S8 100m Butterfly, finishing in 1:20.62.

Nineteen-year-old Emma Cattle (Luton) came sixth in the S10 100m Backstroke in 1:19.42.

Tomorrow (Sunday) the Visa Paralympic World Cup action moves to the athletics track at the Manchester Regional Arena.

For more information contact British Swimming media officer Amanda Smith on 01509 632238, 07876 652 318 or email [email protected]
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