NAC paralympic swimmer James Scully showed his promise on the Road to Rio in 2016 with a sterling set of performances in the pool at the Paralympic Swimming World Championships in Montreal.
Scully got some good international experience under his belt in Canada over the last week, ultimately appearing in a total of four finals and claiming a well-deserved bronze medal in the 200m freestyle, his first-ever world medal.
He went into the final in the bronze medal position, having posted a time of 3:00.17 following the morning’s heats. The 19-year-old both improved on his time and maintained the position in the final, finishing behind silver medal winner Roy Perkins (2:45.61) of the USA, whilst World and Paralympic champion in the event, Brazilian Daniel Dias, retained his title in 2:27.
“I’m over the moon, it’s absolutely brilliant. The time was a bit off what I swam in London but I got the medal and I’m delighted,” said Scully after his win.
Scully also performed well in the other finals he appeared in, registering a fifth place in the final of the 100m freestyle in 1:24.08, his fastest time in the event this year, but registered eighth in the final of his least favoured event, the 50m backstroke.
He finished sixth in his final race of the championships, the 50m freestyle, in a time of 38.32, while Dias won his seventh gold medal and ninth medal overall in a time of 32.41.
Head of Paralympic Swimming Dave Malone was delighted with the team’s overall performance over the seven days of swimming in Montreal.
“Realistically, we had set our stall at four medals coming out here, and to exceed that [with eight medals overall] is beyond what we expected. It’s the first year of our Rio cycle and a good perspective of where we’re at in terms of World competition.
“This is the biggest medal haul we’ve ever had from a Paralympic swim meet and to get five of our athletes out of a six-strong team to come home with medals is absolutely fantastic. I think it shows the strength within the team.
“From a perspective of the last World Championships in 2010, we’ve gone from no medals to eight; it’s really thrilled all of the athletes and staff,” continued Malone. “We’re also grounded in our expectations I suppose, although we won a lot of medals we still have a lot to work on in terms of some of the performances we’re in a really good place and this gives us a great platform to drive on towards Rio.”