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Medal, NZ Records and Top Six Finish Round Out Successful Para Swimming World Championships

Day 7 Wrap of the 2023 Para Swimming World Championships

Cameron Leslie dug deep to bag another medal for New Zealand on the final day of competition at the Para Swimming World Championships in Manchester.

Swimming in the Men's 200m Freestyle (S4) Leslie was in silver position for much of the race but dropped off in the last 75m and had to rally, producing a late surge to fight his way back into the medals, claiming bronze in 3:05.45s.

Israel’s Ami Omer Dadaon took gold in 2:51.58s, with Mexico’s Ángel de Jesús Camacho second in 3:00.63s.

Today was definitely the hardest day of the week for me,” said Leslie.
“I nailed the rating targets but unfortunately that last 50-60m killed me. With not having an ideal build up with illness it really showed in that race. I’m really pleased though, I had a real fight for bronze and I did what was needed in the moment.”

It’s the fourth medal of the meet for Leslie who earlier won gold in the 50m Backstroke (S4), silver in the 100m Freestyle (S4) and silver in the 50m Freestyle (S4).

Commonwealth Games champion Joshua Willmer was the other Kiwi in action, breaking a whopping three New Zealand records as he competed in the 100m Breaststroke (SB8).

The 18-year-old swam 1:13.40s in his heat to set a New Zealand record for the 100m, with his first 50m in 34.79s also a record.

The swim qualified him third fastest for the final where he again broke his own record over the first 50m in 34.62s, finishing sixth overall in 1:13.48s.

“I felt pretty good out there,” said Willmer.
“I followed my race plan and really happy with PBs and records, that’s all you can ask for. Being 6th in the World and 5th in the SB8 classification is a good stepping-stone to Paris Paralympics next year.”

The results conclude a successful meet for New Zealand which has seen the team win five medals overall with all swimmers making at least one final.

“The team is growing well,” said Leslie.
“Josh Willmer’s results today are massive from a kid who has only been around 12ish months. He’s got some real potential to take his racing to the next level. Jesse Reynolds also had his best finish at a major meet (4th, previous best was 6th) which is satisfying stuff."
“Our women are also improving. For Tupou Neiufi to produce a podium will be a confidence boost going into the next 12 months. Lili-Fox Mason and Gaby Smith are maturing well. They’re still finding their feet but have a lot of potential and can be amazing on the world stage if they make changes and make that step up."
“Swimming is a tough sport at this level, you’ve got to fight for your results and we’ll take some really good positives from this meet with the Paralympics a year away now.”

Make sure you follow Swimming NZ on Instagram and Facebook for all the behind-the-scenes info.

Aquablacks Team

Tupou Neiufi (#261) Pukekohe Swim Club

  • 100m Backstroke (S8)

  • 50m, 100m Freestyle (S9)

Jesse Reynolds (#262) Hamilton Aquatics

  • 100m Backstroke (S9)

Cameron Leslie (#272) Whangarei

  • 50m, 100m, 200m Freestyle (S4)

  • 50m Backstroke (S4)

Lili-Fox Mason (#273) Wharenui

  • 100m Butterfly (S10)

  • 400m Freestyle (S10)

Gabriella Smith (#274) Vikings

  • 400m Freestyle (SB9)

  • 100m Breaststroke (SB9)

  • 200m Individual Medley (SB9)

Joshua Willmer (#275) Pukekohe

  • 100m Breaststroke (SB8)

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