Aussie Para Swimmers Take Stage At National Championships


Para swimming finals are mixed in with swimming during the 2018 Australian Swimming Trials, with several domestic stars proving they’re ready to shine.

National record holder Matthew Levy took the men’s S7 50m freestyle title in a mark of 28.61, not too far from his own Aussie record of 27.35 from 2014. Levy’s swim garnered him 905 points, with Matt Haanappel and Rohan Bright finishing with 762 and 692 points for 2nd and 3rd, respectively.

Lake Patterson was tonight’s S8 50m freestyle winner for the women, clocking 30.52 for 962 points to lead the competition, while Katherine Downie‘s time of 2:33.46 in the SM10 200m IM proved enough to earn the win with 855 points.

21-year-old Timothy Disken wrapped things up for the multi-class swimmers, wrangling the S9 100m freestyle win in with his mark of 56.10 for 921 points.

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34 Comments on "Aussie Para Swimmers Take Stage At National Championships"

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Great to see the paraswimmers competing at nationals in Australia but I have to say that the para world is really watching to see how the new classification system starts out with the meet in Copenhagen this week.

Lakeisha Patterson has broken the S8 100free WR (new Mark 1:03.96) during the S9 100fr final touching the wall .17 behind Ellie Cole. The next to the wall S9s touched in 1:06. She unashamedly humiliated the entire S9 field with her revolting self gratifying grandstanding. When will the IPC admit that they know and can prove that Australia cheats and do something about it? When Patterson wins the S9 100free in WR time at the Commonwealth Games because she will? Her back end speeds are no match for amputees or neuros. Watch out Ellie Cole, another stroke & she would have beaten you. I guess you, just like everyone in her S8 class and Para swimming generally, have to just… Read more »

So very true LMA. Needs to be dealt with as soon as possible. Ellie Cole will not be impressed if she is pipped at Commonwealth Games by a cheat. I can’t believe how a sporting organisation would allow an athlete to continue on until they fully investigated all complaints at hand. It shows that Australian Swimming is all about the medals and not honest, hard working swimmers.

You would think at this point in her career Cole would speak up if she knew Patterson was not legitimate.

TAA due to contracts etc no swimmer is allowed to bring the sport into disrepute. This could be anywhere from complaining about the NPC as well as making statements about other swimmers. Plus, why would she when Patterson is part of the relay team and losing her means the possibility of not winning a medal.

I’m not sure she would. Swimming Australia has made poorly-veiled threats to bring me up on child abuse charges because of accusations of IM made by other people in our comments section. Can’t imagine what they’d do to an athlete they knew was speaking out.

Is Patterson too fast for her classification? So far… not really (in 100m free at least). You would expect there to be a reasonable gap between each classification’s WR, and it’s still the case even with her new 1:03.96 time. Women’s 100m Free WR S5 01:16.65 S6 01:11.40 – 5.25s gap to S5 S7 01:08.03 – 3.37s gap to S6 S8 01:04.51 – 3.52s gap (now 4.07s) to S7 S9 01:00.91 – 3.60s gap (now 3.05s) to S8 S10 00:59.17 – 1.74s gap to S9 Ellie Cole was nowhere near the S9 WR, so it just shows AUS doesn’t have a world beating S9 freestyler or any depth in the S9 ranks. However… breaking a WR nearly every time you… Read more »

I’m not sure I would believe that those records were set by swimmers in the correct class. I would think you would need to average the top 10 times each calendar year over the course of a decade to get more reliable average times for each class. Just a reminder her 400 in rio was faster than the s9 gold medal time.

There is no way possible that under the new system she remains an S8.

Good points JJflash. Cole was off her personal best and she too was also way off the S9 WR (mark set by USA Konkoly in 2016). How far were they both from the previous S9 record set by SA leg amputee de Toit anyone? Patterson has the 100, 200 and 400 free WRs. The 100 & 200 she set in a block of hard training. In the same hard training she was also just off her 400 WR mark. She is supposed to live with Early Onset Parkinsons Disease, Left Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy AND Epilepsy. That makes her WR setting during hard training absolutely remarkable. In my opinion though it is her back end performances that really give her game… Read more »

Yes true LMA. Clearly LP has no conscience at all but not sure the same is true of Ellie Cole and those relay medals may weigh very heavily around her neck for the rest of her life. I would imagine it will niggle away at her conscience even though she won’t and can’t admit it.

Previous S9 WR was 1:01.08 set by Natalie de Toit in 2008. In breaking that, US Konkoly shaved over 2 seconds of her 100 free best time in A YEAR. Shades of Patterson in that S9 WR.

I have done a bit more research JJFlash; Patterson won bronze in the S8 100free at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in 1:08.98. She didn’t make the cut, she replaced an injured Jacqueline Freney. At Australian Trials Pattersons PB was 1:10.21 and she swam 1:12.47 prelims and 1:13.89 finals. A little under 4 years later and her new PB is 1:03.96 – 5 seconds faster – 6.24 if we count from her PB. How does that fit in with your analysis on best times swam per class? Given her impressive list of claimed neurological conditions, I simply don’t believe that her 5 or 6 second improvement over 100m during her development years as a14 to 18 year old swimmer is down… Read more »

Interesting LMA. Are you able to compare this against another swimmer of similar age and classification? Would be interesting to see.

Data From Australian National Championship Trials 2014 & 2018 * denotes Para Swimmer, + denotes backstroke, denotes competes both Para and Able bodied Emily Beecroft aged 14 1:08.90 aged 18 1:04.20 4.8s * Kyle Chalmers aged 15 50.96 aged 19 47.58 3.38s Rowan Crothers aged 16 55.04 aged 20 51.15 3.89s ** Tim Hodge aged 13 1:05.83 aged 17 57.97 7.83s * Shayna Jack aged 15 55.28 aged 19 53.40 1.88s Mina Atherton aged 13 1:03.04 aged 17 1:00.35 2.69s + Huge difference between Paras and Ablebods in my small sample. Questions : do ParaSwimmers miss out on learn to swim and early swim squad opportunities that are readily available for able bod kids and only start serious training if… Read more »
As a member of the Aussie para swim team who is choosing to remain anonymous, this has to be one of the dumbest arguments I have ever seen. 6 seconds over 100m between the ages of 14 and 18 is nothing! I would argue that an athlete with a neurological impairment would have the potential to drop a lot more than 6 seconds over the course of 4 years, especially in that age bracket. Think about it logically. You’re talking about a swimmer who is going from a full-time school workload on top of intense training in and out of the pool, into a post-school environment where they can shift swimming to their #1 focus. A person with a neurological… Read more »
Some fair points Mate. Yes small sample & flawed but I’m only trying to add some historical race data to the usual videos and pictures bandied around of Patterson’s sometimes clenched hand sometimes not, palsied arm only in backstroke and that ridiculous toe walk then heel strike gait etc., etc., etc.. I understand that she changed coaches from USC Jan Cameron to Lawnton Swim Club prior to Australian Trials 2016. I also understand that she did defer her final year at school and that she is now at University. I disagree with you in that obvious Intentional Misrepresentation must be punished. That is a seperate issue entirely from a flawed classification system and shame on you for defending such deplorable… Read more »
When did I defend anyone for cheating? I’m not saying IM isn’t an issue, it obviously is. The core values of both the Olympics and the Paralympics revolve around honesty, integrity and fair play. To say I think IM shouldn’t be punished would be akin to me saying athletes who test positive for banned substances deserve nothing more than a slap on the wrist. But targeting the athletes only hurts the athletes. By doing so you don’t create a fairer system at all, it’s just writing nasty words about people who could be entirely honest and open. And maybe you finally find one athlete who is, beyond any doubts, misrepresenting their disability! Congratulations! They get reclassified or banned from the… Read more »

Mate, fraud is fraud, Patterson needs the book thrown at her as a deterrent to others, she is in a league of her own. She has had plenty of opportunities to come clean and she has chosen not to. Tell me, when are you & your Aussie mates being re-classified exactly? Other main NGBs e.g. USA & GB have already started presenting their athletes for reclassification (with some interesting results for Commonwealth Games for England). As a Para Swimmer on the Australian Team you should be able to answer this one. I mean surely you would want reclassified as soon as possible to settle the sport as quickly as possible so it’s fair for as many people as possible?

I can tell you right now that banning one athlete won’t deter others from cheating. May as well say “one athlete has been banned for doping so nobody else will ever dope again”. Thats just illogical. It’s not my call re: when classification happens. We haven’t been told what’s happening there yet. But I’m fine with just focusing on my own swimming for now instead of wasting energy on what other people are doing. My classification doesn’t impact my ability to swim so there’s no use worrying about it. Maybe if I was a cheat then I’d worry about it and want it delayed as much as possible, but that’s not the case. Not for me, not for Lakeisha, and… Read more »
Mate, for someone wishing to leave it to the IPC (God help us all) you somehow know for a fact that banning someone for fraud won’t stop IM – how do you know that exactly? You also claim to know that Lakeisha Patterson isn’t cheating – how do you know that exactly? In addition to you being a top Australian Para Swimmer who knows all about their team mates are you also an expert on Cerebral Palsy, Parkinsons Disease and Epilepsy? Really? No, of course you aren’t. In my, and many others, honest opinion Patterson is cheating and for some unknown reason the IPC are too scared to act. Now why would that be? You seem to be the one… Read more »
The classifiers are inconsistent at best and incompetent at worst. It doesn’t seem to occur to them that a complete absence of atrophy, for example, refutes the alleged diagnosis presented to them. And who knows what the IPC’s agenda is in allowing this to continue. One step in the right direction would be for the NGBs to have a trained independent medical professional to thoroughly assess these “athletes” before they are presented for classification. This doctor could take a comprehensive medical history, perform a full examination, consider the results of various medical tests, and liase with treating medical specialists when necessary. This would go a long way towards eliminating the complete frauds. It would incur a cost but it would… Read more »
Online witch hunt? You need to google Lakeisha Patterson and then select images. Scroll through and have a little gander at all the different images on their of your Miss Patterson. Anything from an open hand at the age of around 14-15, to her wearing high heeled shoes at award functions to now having a clenched hand and a foot that can’t decide whether it wants to toe walk or heel strike (depending on its mood). Add to this the fact that she has had a multitude of classifications over the years makes everyone question her true disability.(if she has one) Most of the people on here are upset about the fact that no one, not IPC nor your NGB… Read more »
When did I defend anyone for cheating? I’m not saying IM isn’t an issue, it obviously is. The core values of both the Olympics and the Paralympics revolve around honesty, integrity and fair play. To say I think IM shouldn’t be punished would be akin to me saying athletes who test positive for banned substances deserve nothing more than a slap on the wrist. But targeting the athletes only hurts the athletes. By doing so you don’t create a fairer system at all, it’s just writing nasty words about people who could be entirely honest and open. And maybe you finally find one athlete who is, beyond any doubts, misrepresenting their disability! Congratulations! They get reclassified or banned from the… Read more »


I think you protest to much and maybe you are not what you say you are !!!

You are the only person who seems to think the swimmers have no blame attached to them which really is an insult to those who have been robbed of medals and records.
Lakeisha Patterson is the biggest IM fraud in world swimming and the IPC should have heeded their own investigation report which highlighted a number of issues that were cause for action against her to be taken.

I take it you have seen the report if not I have a copy you can have, time to take your blinkers off unless your classification is a cause of concern

Obvious blatant intentional misrepresentation is a different issue to a flawed classification system, although granted the latter enables the former.

Mate are you saying that while the system is flawed(yes we all know this) that athletes basically have the right to commit intentional misrepresentation until it is fixed? Yes, I agree with your idea of testing over a multi day to check for fluctuations etc as this would show muscle deterioration and weakness progressively getting worse. I wonder what your thoughts are behind the information that came to light last year of 2 of your swimmers completing a heavy training session prior to classification? Sounds like there are some serious issues within your camp that need to be addressed and some authority figures that need to be dealt with urgently. What sort of coach would suggest a swimmer quit school… Read more »
So effectively you are saying that Lakeisha won the 400 free in Rio in world record time plus acquired several other medals where her preparation had been “average quality”. What would she have done then if she had had “high quality” preparation? She was 17 in Rio. You also clearly have no understanding of neurological deficits. Training can only have a limited effect on muscles with a faulty nerve supply and also can have a detrimental effect in terms of fatiguing impaired nerves and muscles. Sometimes work can be done to more effectively harness the muscles that are not so greatly affected, which makes these muscles more prone to overuse injury, but to state that neurologically impaired athletes gain more… Read more »

Maybe LP knows her time is limited as an S8 or any classification so she is trying to get her name in the record books as much as possible. The only way she will be removed from the records is if she is found to have committed IM.

About Loretta Race

Loretta Race

Loretta grew up outside Toledo, OH, where she swam age group and high school. Graduating from Xavier University, she stayed in the Cincinnati, OH area and currently resides just outside the city in Northern KY.  Loretta got back into the sport of swimming via Masters and now competes and is …

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