A 35-strong Paralympic swim team will be going to London and ABC-TV has announced a star-studded line up to cover their endeavours.
The swim team is the thirteenth and final sport announced on the 2012 Australian Paralympic Team, bringing the total number of athletes selected to 161.
Having won 354 Paralympic medals in swimming – 101 gold, 133 silver and 120 bronze since it was introduced at the first Paralympic Games in Rome 1960 – swimming is one of Australia’s most successful sports at the Paralympics, second only to athletics in medals.
Australian Paralympic Committee CEO and 2012 Team Chef de Mission Jason Hellwig believes the team selected for London will continue Australia’s proud tradition of success in the pool.
“Australians love watching Australians do well in the pool and London will be no different,” he says. “We are sending a strong swim team and although the competition for medals will be tougher than ever, I have no doubt that members of this team can make their presence felt.
Eight-time Paralympic gold medallist Matthew Cowdrey (SA) will lead the team to his third Paralympic Games as he strives to become Australia’s most successful Paralympian. Cowdrey needs to win three gold medals to top track star Tim Sullivan’s Australian record of 10 gold, and with a program consisting of eight events, is a strong contender to take the crown.
Cowdrey is joined by three other Paralympic gold medallists Rick Pendleton (QLD), Katrina Porter (WA) and Matthew Levy (NSW) as well as six other current world champions including Blake Cochrane (QLD) and Brenden Hall (QLD). Thirteen-year-old Newcastle teenager Maddison Elliot will also be heading to London as the youngest athlete on the entire Australian Paralympic Team.
“This is a swim team that Australia can be proud of and will continue the success Australia has traditionally had in the pool at the Paralympic Games,” said Australian Paralympic Swimming Head Coach, Brendan Keogh.
“We have a number of experienced swimmers on the team who are reaching their peaks as athletes and will be highly competitive in London. We also have a number of athletes going to their first Games who have shown enormous potential at various competitions over the past two years. They could cause some upsets in London.”
Meanwhile, ABC TV has announced that its Paralympic presentation team will include Stephanie Brantz, comedian Adam Hills and triple gold medal-winning sprinter Heath Francis. The opening and closing ceremonies will be shown live on ABC1, from 5:20am AEST on 30 August and 10 September respectively.
Daily competition highlights will be screened on both the ABC’s primary channel and ABC2. ABC1 will feature a morning highlights show from 4:00am to 8:30am hosted by sports broadcaster Karen Tighe. Stephanie Brantz will anchor an evening highlights show on ABC1 from 6:00pm to 7:00pm. She will then be joined by comedian Lawrence Mooney, actor Adam Zwar and radio host Sam Pang for continued highlights on ABC2 from 7:00pm until 11:00pm nightly.
2012 Australian Paralympic Swimming Team
Michael Anderson – Repton, NSW
Tim Antalfy – Georges Hall, NSW
Michael Auprince – Peakhurst, NSW
Kayla Clarke – Silkstone, QLD
Blake Cochrane – Scarborough, NSW
Ellie Cole – Bruce, ACT
Taylor Corry – Anna Bay, NSW
Matthew Cowdrey – Seaton, SA
Jay Dohnt – Ferrydon Park, SA
Katherine Downie – Quinns Rocks, WA
Richard Eliason – Flynn, ACT
Maddison Elliott – Gillieston Heights, NSW
Amanda Fowler – Blaxland, NSW
Daniel Fox – Cleveland, QLD
Jacqueline Freney – Skinners Head, NSW
Matthew Haanappel – Croydon Hills, VIC
Brenden Hall – Petrie, QLD
Tanya Huebner – Hampton, VIC
Ahmed Kelly – North Melbourne, VIC
Mitchell Kilduff – Carlton, NSW
Kara Leo – Penrith, NSW
Matthew Levy – Northbridge, NSW
Jeremy McClure – Mount Pleasant, WA
Esther Overton – Enfield, SA
Andrew Pasterfield – Castle Hill, NSW
Grant Patterson – Cairns, QLD
Rick Pendleton – Sippy Downs, QLD
Katrina Porter – Newtown, NSW
Aaron Rhind – Yass, NSW
Sarah Rose – Pymble, NSW
Sean Russo – Revesby, NSW
Teigan Van Roosmalen – Bateau Bay, NSW
Reagan Wickens – Grays Point, NSW
Prue Watt – Hawthorn East, VIC
Annabelle Williams – Cheltenham, NSW