Benjamin Hance Wins First LC Aussie Title At Multi-Class Championships

Courtesy: Swimming Australia

Young USC Spartan Benjamin Hance has become the fastest S14 Australian in the Men’s 100m Backstroke Multi-Class, after blitzing the field in a time of 58.88 (1019 points) on night two of the 2021 Australian Multi-Class Swimming Championships.

Setting the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre alight, Hance’s time also saw him claim the gold medal and his first long course Australian title.

Speaking after the race, the 20-year-old – whose pet events are the 100m back and 100m fly – said he was delighted with the result.

“It’s really cool to be the fastest Australian and between now and trials I want to get even faster in the 100 back,” Hance said.

Harrison Vigg (S9) from the Brisbane Jets secured the silver medal in 1:05.32 (823 points), while Belgravia’s Brenden Hall (S9) snared bronze with a time of 1:07.69 (740 points).

In what proved to be a successful night for the USC Spartan’s, Katja Dedekind (S13) showed why she’s one to watch, securing her third medal of the meet and her second gold. Claiming victory in the Women’s Open 100m Backstroke Multi-Class with a time of 1:08.22 (896 points), Dedekind was clearly beaming post-race.

“It’s pretty cool actually, I don’t really look at the medals too much, it’s more about the results, but to be able to touch first and also get a medal is pretty cool,” Dedekind said.

“I’ve just really been working on my swimming technique and keeping fit in all areas not just in the pool and in the gym.”

Knox Pymble’s Ellie Cole (S9) touched for silver in 1:14.41 (743 points) and St Hilda’s Madeleine McTernan (S14) placed third in 1:11.51 (719 points).

Bay & Basin’s Jasmine Greenwood (SM10) started her night with a bang, bagging her second gold medal of the meet – this time in the Women Open 200m Individual Medley Multi-Class. Greenwood – who was the favourite heading into the race – hit the wall in 2:33.26 (845 points) to beat out fellow Dolphins Tiffany Thomas Kane (SM7) from Warringah Aquatic and Kiera Stephens (SM10) from USC Spartans. Kane recorded a time of 3:04.19 and 765 points to received silver, while Stephens clocked 2:39.10 and 755 points to take home the bronze.

Liam Schluter (SM14) showed his class in the Men’s Open 200m Individual Medley Multi-Class to claim his first Australian title of the meet. The Kawana Waters’ product had hot competition in North Sydney’s Matt Levy (SM7) who pushed him all the way to the wall. Only five points separated the pair when they touched – 863 to 857. Jesse Aungles (SM8) from Marion posted 2:30.07 and 812 points.

Backing up her performance from night one when she took home gold in the Women’s 400m Freestyle Multi-Class, Belgravia’s Lakeisha Patterson (S9) couldn’t be stopped in the Women’s Open 100m Freestyle Multi-Class race. Posting a time of 1:04.07 to record 812 points, the 22-year-old narrowly took the spoils ahead of defending champ, Cole (S9) (1:04.15, 809 points), and Melbourne Vicentre’s Ashleigh McConnell (S9) (1:04.98, 779).

Making it a double delight on night two, Yeronga Park’s Rowan Crothers pinched his second freestyle gold medal at the champs after flying to the finish line in the Men’s Open 100m Free Multi-Class in a time of 51.91 (941 points). While Crother’s bagged the gold, Somerset GC’s hometown hero, Tom Gallagher (S9) snared second in a time of 54.46 and 840 points, while Jack Ireland (S14) from Uni of Queensland rounded out the podium in 53.32 (773 points).

Speaking after the race, Gallagher said he was happy to snare his third medal against tough competition at his first Australian Multi-Class Championships.

“It’s pretty good, Rowan obviously won it and he’s a great swimmer so to come second to him is really good,” Gallagher.

“My times have been a little bit off what I wanted but at the end of the day I gave it my all so I’m pretty happy with that. To go sub 55 after a kilometre of racing over the last two days is pretty good so I can’t be too sad about that.

“The weather hasn’t been great, but you can’t help that, the rest of competition has been great, everyone has been super friendly, and it’s been a good competition and it’s just good to get some racing under my belt with a big year ahead.”

The action continues tomorrow at 9am (local time). You can catch every race live from the Gold Coast Swimming & Aquatic Centre on Amazon Prime Video or SwimTV.

Click here for a VNR featuring Tom Gallagher, Katja Dedekind and Benjamin Hance.

Click here for all results from night two on the Gold Coast.

Note: All para races were swum as multi-class races, meaning athletes from all classifications competed in the same event, with the para-swimmer the highest point score crowned the winner.

The Multi-Class Point Score (MCPS) has been developed to provide a simplified way for swimmers and coaches to measure and compare performances. The MCPS is based on the World Record (WR) times for each classification, but also takes into account weightings for non-Paralympic events that are not raced by other countries around the world.

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Pick A Lane
13 days ago

“Breaks” a WR record on Tuesday in Australia and yet entered for classification on a NT at World Para Series in Texas in same event. Wasn’t even a PB! Wonder how slow he will go there?!?

Eddy
13 days ago

Perhaps the pandemic will finally force the IPC’s hand regarding absolutely everything classification. Flying swimmers from Covid free Australia (mostly anyway) to Covid riddled US purely to ‘classify’ is selfish and insane.

Do any of the travelling Aussies have underlying medical issues that could be exacerbated with exposure to Covid 19? Hopefully the meet goes without a hitch but who is responsible and accountable if it goes pear shaped? US Swimming? IPC? Swimming Australia? Or have the athletes signed a waiver?

Steph Rice's kickboard
Reply to  Eddy
13 days ago

When international classifiers refused to come to Australia (at Australia’s cost) because they get quarantined for 14 days after arrival, and attempts to make their stay even more comfortable were rejected, what are you left to do?  

Selfish and insane? Given the classifiers refusal, what other options were available to Australia apart from “see you guys in Paris in 2024..maybe”?

Only recently IPC decided to offer classification in Tokyo immediately prior to the Paralympics, which was never supposed to be an option, and therefore not considered. Too little too late and destined to become a farce.  
 
With the demand no-one arrives in Tokyo more than 5 days prior to their event, you’d have to schedule an athlete’s classification and… Read more »

Eddy
Reply to  Steph Rice's kickboard
12 days ago

Yes, absolutely yes. Swimming Australia / Paralympics Australia most certainly are ‘bad’ for feeding into the nonsensical and unsafe demands of the IPC. They gave into those ridiculous demands purely to satisfy their own selfish medal and funding agenda with absolutely no thought about the safety of their own athletes. Have you even stopped to think about the actual individual athletes and the potential health threat to them? Seems not. These young athletes have travelled on a single dose of the AZ vaccine.

Given that you are obviously ‘in the know’ do these athletes have medical insurance to cover absolutely anything that may happen to them whilst they are travelling to, in and from Texas? Be honest, if you’ve… Read more »

Eddy
Reply to  Steph Rice's kickboard
12 days ago

Would you also care to explain how you have gotten around Australia’s very strict arrivals cap? That is Australia being ‘bad’ placing Sport, if we can even call Para Sport Sport that these days, in front of extremely vulnerable and desperate Australian families who have been stuck over seas for months. That is despicable and un-Australian behaviour and you should be ashamed, I certainly am ashamed of ‘bad’ Australia and their priorities. It makes one wonder who exactly is on your classification list to justify such extreme and selfish behaviour. I’ll leave you with this from Alexander Downer;
“‘A bloody outrage’: Leaving Aussies stranded a breach of human rights, says Alexander Downer” but yeah, you go right ahead and… Read more »

Pick A Lane
Reply to  Eddy
12 days ago

Let’s not forget the intellectually disabled athletes sitting on deferred University offers until after the Games.

Eddy
Reply to  Pick A Lane
12 days ago

Really? Who

Pick A Lane
Reply to  Eddy
11 days ago

Paige L.

Also got NSW swimmer Victoria J who swam at MC Nationals this week as s14 and yet finished grade 12 on 95.05 ATAR (99.95 highest possible) qualifying her for entry in nearly any degree program other than Medicine at most uni’s.

Doesn’t take much to find the majority of s14s being put up are achieving academically in mainstream programs way beyond the scope of most people with an intellectual disability.

Eddy
Reply to  Pick A Lane
11 days ago

Do you have the evidence proving that Paige L finished secondary education at university degree entry level qualification standard and that she has deferred Uni until after the Tokyo Paralympic Games? If you do, and it’s not just here-say, have you forwarded it to the IPC ?