Lakeisha Patterson Opens Australia Multi-Class Championships With 400 Free Win

Courtesy: Swimming Australia

Powering through in pouring rain and wintery conditions, reigning World Para Champ, Lakeisha Patterson (S9), turned up the heat at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre to claim gold in her pet event – the Women’s 400m Freestyle Multi-Class.

Pinching the first medal on night one of the 2021 Australian Multi-Class Swimming Championships, Belgravia’s Patterson posted a time of 4:39.55 (840 points) – only a second off her gold medal world champs time in 2019 – to beat out fellow Dolphins Katja Dedekind (S13) from USC Spartans (4:39.50, 801 points) and Yeronga Park’s Monique Murphy (S10) who posted 4:51.05 and 792 points.

Speaking after the race, a delighted Patterson – who was excited to be back racing – said she was pleased with the time she posted.

“It’s the fastest I’ve been in a little while, so it’s a good position to be in considering the past year we’ve all had, and it can only go up from here leading into trials,” Patterson said.

“Seeing where I was in 2019 and to only be a second off that is really promising, and not being fully tapered or rested, putting in the hard yards while and where we can, especially last week there was a lockdown and having to swim in the ocean and still being able to put that together is really exciting.

“I know I’m going to put everything I have into these next couple of months leading into trials and the Paralympic Games.”

Taking home his first Australian title, local athlete Tom Gallagher (S9) from Somerset GC won the Men’s 400m Freestyle Multi-Class event. Hitting the wall in a highly impressive time of 4:10.17 (997 points), the newcomer claimed gold ahead of reigning Paralympic Champ and experienced campaigner, Belgravia’s Brenden Hall (S9) who clocked 4:20.20 and 886 points. There was a tie for bronze between Kawana Waters’ Liam Schluter (S14) and SLC Aquadot’s Alexander Tuckfield (S9), who both posted times equalling 868 points.

In the Men’s 50m Multi-Class splash and dash, Yeronga Park’s Rowan Crothers (S10) tackled the wind head on to muscle his way to the finish in a scorching 23.63 (942 points). Backing up from the 400m event, Gallagher (S9) touched for second to secure his second medal for the night in 25.14 (870 points). USC Spartans’ Jacob Templeton placed third in 24.69 (830 points).

Even through the teeming rain Crothers was clearly beaming as he let the victory wash over him post-race.

“It feels really awesome, the conditions here aren’t amazing, there’s a lot of rain and the wind is going in the opposite direction but I’m not really about making excuses,” Crothers said.

“To me it’s more like the odds are stacked against me and against everyone and I’m only swimming point two off my lifetime best – I’m just over the moon, I’m so happy.”

Uni of Queensland’s Paige Leonhardt (S14) added two gold medals to her list of achievements on night one, pinching Australian titles in the 100m Butterfly Multi-Class and 100m Breaststroke Multi-Class. Kew’s Col Pearse also notched up two medals on Monday evening, taking home the Men’s 100m Butterfly Multi-Class and the Boys 17-18 50m Butterfly in the Age event.

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 via SwimTV.

Click here to access a VNR of Lakeisha Patterson and Rowan Crothers.

Click here for all results, including MC Age events.

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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15 days ago

The Aussies are good for some entertainment. Newly classified and he is only a couple tenths off world record in his first big para swim meet. So absurd and sad at the same time. That will take the attention off Lakeisha

Reply to  Taa
15 days ago

An unwatchable, farcical s#%^ show – absurd and sad are understatements, thank goodness it’s only 2 days worth! A bunch of them are heading to Texas this week for the usual classification coin toss.

Take a look at Patterson’s splits;
No sign of neuromuscular fatigue in that swim whatsoever, why the other athletes put up with this nonsense really is beyond me

Pick A Lane
Reply to  Eddy
14 days ago

Funny it’s a priority to send Athletes to Texas for classification on the quiet, during Covid, when rumours indicate that next months Sydney Open will be a Para World Series stop with classification opportunities (might be totally wrong on that one). Must think they can slide through easier over there. The list of newbies smashing records they are rushing to get approved is crazy.

Just an assumption but if your smashing WRs before your even classified and never swum multiclass before it’s a little suspicious. Just more washed up open swimmers stealing medals flooding the sport at the moment.

Reply to  Pick A Lane
14 days ago

Almost 40,000 at the recent Texas Rangers game in Arlington, they could experience a spike in cases just in time for the meet – if they still test in that state of course.

SAL refused to send their junior swimmers overseas due to the Covid 19 pandemic so why are they sending their disabled swimmers overseas to a US state with community transfer, where masks are no longer mandatory and sporting venues are almost at full capacity? And, are they cutting in line in front of stranded Aussies for their homeward bound flight and quarantine stint? As usual, there is nothing transparent about the Australian Para program and SAL’s senior management. Could they even secure insurance during a pandemic?… Read more »

Pick A Lane
Reply to  Eddy
13 days ago

Couldn’t agree more. Texas must be thrilled – Half of them were in a declared Covid hotspot a week ago themselves (though Aussie numbers are significantly lower than other parts of the world). Would love to know how much this trip is costing and who picked up the bill!

When Athletes who have been selected on previous teams won’t make the cut because of all these “new discoveries” you know something is fishy.

Pick a Lane
15 days ago

Tonight’s results are even more of a joke.