Silver for Leonhardt at World Para Championships

Published 9:58am 15 June 2022

Silver for Leonhardt at World Para Championships
Words by Kylie Knight

Burpengary swimmer Paige Leonhardt has taken silver in the Women's 100m Breaststroke SB14 at the World Para Swimming Championships in Madeira, Portugal, overnight.

Her podium finish is the result of hard work after missing out on a medal in the same race at the Tokyo Paralympics.

She touched the wall behind Spain’s Michelle Alonso Morales, with a time of 1:16.44.

“A lot of people know me as the 100m butterfly girl, but I can do breastroke as well and I was really heartbroken after Tokyo, coming sixth in the world, so to come back less than a year later and get second in the world it means everything to me,” she said after the race.

“I’m just so happy to start my worlds campaign with a silver medal. It’s absolutely amazing.”

Leonhardt made special mention of her mum and coach Harley Connolly.

“I’ve only been with Harley and my club Belgravia (at Burpengary) since October last year, so post Tokyo, and the work we’ve done together and the relationship we have as coach and athlete … it’s just amazing and I’m so grateful for him.”

Australia has a total of three gold, seven silver and four bronze at the World Para Swimming Championships, so far.

The competition started on June 12 and finishes on June 18.

Hungry for success

Leonhardt swims the 100m butterfly, 100m breaststroke, 200m freestyle, 200m IM and medley mixed relay.

She has previously claimed silver medals at 2018 Commonwealth Games and 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.

“But I feel, going into these champions I’m probably the fittest I have even been and having a big program doesn’t really phase me,” the Redlands resident told Moreton Daily before the World Para Swimming Championships.

Leonhardt was thrown from a car at the age of five and took four years to recover. She started swimming aged 12 years during therapy and was at the national titles by the time she was 13 years old.

Now 21, she was selected for the 2017 World Para Championships which were initially postponed following an earthquake in Mexico.

This time, she is more experienced and hungry for success.

“Having won silver in the 100m butterfly at the Comm Games and in Tokyo, my goal for these championships will be to get on the dais multiple times,” she said.

Fellow Belgravia swimmers Brenden Hall and Lakeisha Patterson were due to compete at the event, but their preparation has been disrupted due to illness.

It is hoped Brenden will still compete in the 400m freestyle, but unclear which events Lakeisha will contest.

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