Eleven-time Paralympic gold medalist Sophie Pascoe is done with the 200 individual medley.
After winning the women’s SM10 race in Beijing, London and Rio, she locked up her fourth straight gold in the event, this time in the SM9 class, on Wednesday at the Tokyo Paralympic Games. She collapsed on deck after the race and received medical attention, then later told 1 News that she is done with the discipline.
“I left it all out there, and some of it on the side of the pool. That’s what a fight is all about, right, and I really wanted to make this a four-peat,” Pascoe said. “It just came down to that last 10m not breathing, and that’s the skills that [coach] Roly [Crichton] and I have been working on for many years doing this race. I can say you have witnessed my last ever 200 IM, I will be cutting the events down now, so it’s nice to finish on a positive and with a gold.”
The 28-year-old Pascoe, who represents New Zealand, said she blacked out and required oxygen after exiting the pool.
“That’s a first for me, and now it’s a last because it’s not going to happen again, in the 200 IM,” Pascoe explained. “It just came down to not breathing and giving it absolutely everything. I could feel the pain while swimming that last 50m from head to toe and I couldn’t even feel my strokes in that last 10m.”
Her winning time of 2:32.93 was well over seven seconds slower than her world record (2:25.22) from May 2019.
“I could say this wasn’t my best performance, and we knew this Games wasn’t going to give me my best performances,” Pascoe said. “Coming here off the year that’s been, it was about making the podium, but to come away with the four-peat I’m proud of myself, I really dug deep.”
Ahead of the 200 IM, Pascoe had already won three medals in Tokyo: gold in the S9 100 free, silver in the SB8 100 breast and bronze in the S9 100 back. In the S9 100 fly final on Thursday, she finished fifth, missing the podium for the first time ever in her 20-race Paralympic career.