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Craig claims 400 freestyle gold in Leeds

March 9, 2013
Josef Craig

Josef Craig

Paralympic Champion Josef Craig (S7) of South Tyneside swam close to his own world record to win the MC 400m Freestyle on the second night of the British Gas International Meet in Leeds.

Posting the second fastest time in history for his classification, Craig won the gold in 4.43.53 (992 points) ahead of  Jonathan Fox (S7) (Newquay Cormorants) who was second in 4.50.91 (919 points).

I’m really pleased with the race – it was nearly as quick as the Paralympic Games.

Oliver Hynd (S8) of Nova Centurion swam to bronze in 4.38.14.

“I’m really pleased with the race, that was nearly as quick as the Paralympic Games,” said Craig. “I feel like I’m getting that long course race pace back that I had before the Games.

“We’re in heavy training at the minute and I want to stay as close to my Games times so when I come to the World trials I will be where I need to be to break world records.

“I’ve been doing more work in the gym and it is paying off, I can feel it in my races. My shorter distance times are coming down to.”

Having lifted MC 100m Freestyle gold on the opening day in Leeds, Jessica-Jane Applegate scooped another two titles tonight winning gold in the MC 200m Freestyle and MC 100m Butterfly.

I felt a lot of pressure coming into the 200m Free but I managed to calm myself in time for the race.

The Paralympic champion dominated from the gun and touched for gold in a new British Record of 2.12.47 ahead of Natalie Massey (Aquabears) in second in 2.20.20 and Chloe Davies (Trowbridge) in third with a time of 2.20.37.

Applegate took the 100m Fly title in 1.11.84 ahead of Stephanie Slater of Preston (1.11.42) and Stephanie Millward of Aquae Sulis (1.13.52) in silver and bronze respectively.

“I felt really pleased with my swims,” she said. “I felt a lot of pressure coming into the 200m Free because people expect me to win after the Paralympics but I managed to calm myself in time for my races.

“My 200m Free was a PB untapered so I’m really happy with that.”

Kelly College’s Hannah Russell was victorious again in the pool tonight, taking her second gold medal of the meet in the MC 400m Freestyle.

I thought that was really good – a definite improvement on this morning.

S12 athlete Russell was less than two seconds off her British record time and clocked 4.40.00 to take the victory.

“I thought that was really good, a definite improvement on this morning,” said Russell, who also won MC 100m Backstroke gold on the opening night in Leeds. ”I wanted to go in there and swim my absolute hardest so see where I was.

“It’s been tough racing finals back to back but it is good preparation.”

Tully Kearney of Royal Wolverhampton lowered her own S10 British Record to win silver in a time of 4.45.56 whilst another S10 swimmer, Rosie Bancroft (City of Oxford) took bronze in 4.47.68.

Stockport Metro’s Dan Pepper (S14) took the win in the MC 200m Freestyle men’s event in 2.04.92. He warded off a challenge from Ben Procter (S14) (Newquay Cormorants) who came second in 2.05.77 while Jack Thomas (S14) of Swansea University was third in 2.07.61.

“I’m really pleased with that swim,” said Pepper. “I’ll be very interested to see what time I went out in as I’ve been working on my front end speed in training recently so I went out hard in that race.

“I’ve got the 200m IM and 100m Breaststroke coming up in the next few days and those races could go either way so I’m just looking forward to seeing what I can do.”

Edinburgh University’s Craig Rodgie won the final gold of the night in the MC 100m Fly. The S14 swimmer clocked 1.03.55 to beat James Hollis (S10) of Loughborough University into silver (1.10.03) and James Clegg (S12) of East Lothian to bronze in 1.02.00.

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