The 8th September…the calm before the storm! What was to follow over the next 10 days was something that had only been dreamt of. With much speculation going in to the Rio Paralympic Games 2016 no one expected it to be the success that it was.
To kick start Day One, club member Jonathan Fox claimed a SILVER MEDAL in the Men’s S7 100m Backstroke in a time 1.10.78. That wasn’t the only SILVER MEDAL of the Games, next was the turn of Phelipe Rodrigues. On Day Two, Phelipe raised the Brazilian roof to take second place in the Men’s S10 50m Freestyle. The emotions got the better of Phelipe when he proudly collected his medal in front of a home crowd.
The Silver rush continued on Day Four, club member Tom Hamer bagged himself a SILVER MEDAL in the Men’s S14 200m Freestyle with a time of 1.56.58 – just fingertips from the gold. Day Five and Phelipe was back in action this time in the Men’s S10 100m Freestyle. With huge pressure on the Brazilian star’s shoulders, he had a great swim to take the BRONZE MEDAL in a time of 51.48s.
On Day Seven the wait was over and it was time for the COMAST Women to take to the water and up first was Joana Calado going in the Women’s SB8 100m Breaststroke Final. This was an unbelievable achievement for Jo. To take you on a journey: Only one year ago Jo was going through her normal day-to-day routine at work and had the ultimate, and some might think, slightly crazy idea ‘to represent Portugal at a major Games’, Jo’s slight issue was that she had been out of performance sport for 8 years with the only form of exercise being a cycle to work. Jo turned this idea in to reality in 12 short months and swam a great 5th in a time of 1.25.96 – a New PORTUGUESE NATIONAL RECORD. A true measure of what you can achieve when you work hard and put your mind to it.
This was not the only success for COMAST that evening; it was time for golden girl Hannah Russell to show us all what she’d been waiting for, in her first event of the Games. In a class of her own with perfect precision and execution, Hannah took the GOLD MEDAL and a NEW WORLD RECORD in the Women’s S12 100m Backstroke in a time of 1.06.06. However, the COMAST Men weren’t letting the girls have all the limelight on night seven. Jonathan Fox was back in action to bag his second SILVER MEDAL of the Games in the Men’s S7 400m Freestyle and to add to the success, Phelipe brought the 4x100m – 34 point Relay home for Brazil to grab another SILVER MEDAL.
Day Nine saw the penultimate day for Swimming, and Hannah was back in action to clinch her second medal of the Games. Swimming up a category in the Women’s S13 100m Freestyle, Hannah claimed the BRONZE MEDAL in 1.00.07.
On the Final Day more medals rolled in for COMAST before the curtains closed and pool cover was pulled, Tom Hamer secured his second SILVER MEDAL and a BRITISH RECORD in the Men’s SM14 200m Individual Medley, in what was his first Paralympic Games. Hannah Russell ender her Games on a high, her gold streak continued. She took the GOLD MEDAL in the Women’s S12 50m Freestyle with a time of 27.53. On the Final race of the evening, it was back to Phelipe to bring home the Brazilian 4x100m Medley Relay, in a race where Brazil were not expected to medal. The roof came off and the home crowd cheered Phelipe all the way on to touch in BRONZE MEDAL position with a split of 50.90s.
The Paralympic Games was a huge success for the COMAST Swimmers with 7 x MEDALS, 1 x WORLD RECORD, 1 x PORTUGUESE NATIONAL RECORD from squad members and 4 x MEDALS, 1 x BRITISH RECORD from club members training in the National Centre.
Huge Congratulations from all at COMAST to the following:
Your club is very proud!
This is Manchester we do things differently around here.