Henshaw stars for GB swimmers

05 September 2012 / 13:20

With seven top-three finishes in the heats this morning, further visits to the podium by members of ParalympicsGB are a distinct possibility as they close in on their medal target.

Charlotte Henshaw broke the Paralympic record set by team-mate Liz Johnson minutes earlier as they booked the top two places in the SB6 100m breaststroke. Hannah Russell, already a double medallist on her Paralympic debut, heads the S12 100m backstroke while Louise Watkin leads the field in the S9 50m freestyle.

The Hynd brothers are second and third into the final of the SM8 200m individual medley while James Anderson was third into the S2 50m backstroke in his sixth Games following his debut in 1992. Robert Welbourn and James O'Shea were fifth into the S10 400m freestyle and the SB5 100m breaststroke respectively.

With 25 medals on the board and four finals sessions remaining, the target of 40-50 set with UK Sport is eminently achievable.

Johnson is the defending champion in the SB6 100m breaststroke and she appeared to be in pole position when she set a new Games mark in the first heat. However, team-mate Henshaw lowered it by a significant 1.45secs in the next heat with the Mansfield-born swimmer completely taken aback by her efforts.

By her own admission 2012 has not been a good year in the pool for the Beijing silver medallist and she said: "I was really surprised. I just wanted to go in and do a solid heat and I think a lot of the nerves really pushed me on, I really wanted to post a good time.

"I think that's the best time I have done in near enough 18 months so it is a massive confidence booster because I had a little bit of a dip at the beginning of the year, trials weren't particularly great. That was about getting in and trying to show I still have actually got the form there and I did so I am so, so pleased."

The 25-year-old swam in the heats of the S8 400m freestyle earlier in the week to get accustomed to the crowd at the Aquatics Centre as well as getting in the water.

Of tonight, she said: "Hopefully I can go faster because that is what everyone wants to do from heat into finals, but I think even if I came away with just that I'd be happy because that is a massive thing for me mentally.

"I've had a really rough year in my head and that has done so much for my confidence so I am going in tonight feeling on top of the world."