Swimming: Pascoe sets three world records in Singapore but is still aiming for greater heights
SINGAPORE – Sophie Pascoe is New Zealand’s most decorated Paralympian, with nine gold and six silver medals across three Paralympic Games.
But the 26-year-old is hungrier than ever ahead of her next year’s Games in Tokyo, pushing herself to win even more titles.
The Kiwi set a world record in the women’s 200m individual medley (SM9) on Sunday (May 12), clocking 2min 25.22sec at the World Para Swimming World Series in Singapore.
She bettered South Africa’s Natalie du Toit’s 11-year-old record of 2:27.83 set at the Beijing Paralympics. It was her third world record at the May 10-12 meet at the OCBC Aquatic Centre.
Pascoe, who lost her lower left leg in a lawnmower accident when she was 21/2 years old, also finished first in the event with 1,063 points, ahead of Russia’s Valeriia Shabalina (1,053) and USA’s Jessica Long (978).
The World Para Swimming World Series uses a standardised multi-class points system, which sees swimmers of different classifications awarded points after their times are compared with the world records in their respective classes.
Pascoe, who also broke the 50m and 100m freestyle (S9) world records at the meet, was surprised by her results and certain she can do even better.
She said: “I feel really overwhelmed. It’s been a great meet and I’m in better condition than I expected.
“I’m not really at my peak but I’m doing some really good times which shows that with more training under my belt, I’ll be in even better condition for the World Para Swimming Championships (in September).
“My ultimate goal is the Tokyo Paralympics and from what I’ve done here, it’s only a stepping stone to that.
“To be able to break personal best times and world records, it’s not only exciting for myself but also for people who see that and are inspired by that.”
Singapore’s Toh Wei Soong and Yip Pin Xiu also added a silver medal each to Toh’s gold medal won on Friday.
Toh finished second in the men’s 50m butterfly with 896 points, sandwiched between China’s Wang Jingang (988) and Russia’s Andrei Granichka (841).
Yip won the silver in the women’s 50m backstroke with 859 points, behind Turkey’s Sumeyye Boyaci (902) and ahead of Japan’s Mayumi Narita (837).
The meet has helped both swimmers identify areas to work on ahead of September’s World Championships in London.
Yip, 27, said: “One thing I must really focus on is increasing my ability to do 100m races, so I have to work on coming back faster, and my stroke and technique as well.
“I hope with this focus, I’ll get better times soon as well. These three days have been tiring and I’m ready to take a short break before starting again and continuing to improve.”
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