Medals in Manchester for world trio

Published 12:00pm 7 August 2023

Medals in Manchester for world trio
Words by Nick Crockford

Lakeisha ‘Lucky’ Patterson, Paige Leonhardt and Brenden Hall have helped Australia to its most successful World Para Swimming Championships in more than a decade.

Caboolture-based Lucky struck gold in her pet event; Leonhardt, who trained at Burpengary, followed in the relays and Hall, from Mango Hill, won bronze over his favoured distance.

The trio, who were at Burpengary Regional Aquatic Centre until last year, helped the Australian team finish sixth on the world championship ladder in Manchester.

All three moved to the Paralympic Hub at Sippy Downs last year with coach Harley Connolly, who lives on Bribie Island and is now the hub’s head coach.

Patterson overcame a slow start to the world titles and never looked like losing the women’s 400m freestyle S9 at the weekend.

Lakeisha Patterson struck gold in her pet event in Manchester.

In a swim everyone knew was coming, the 24-year-old dominated, winning in four minutes 46.3 seconds, almost two seconds faster than her heat.

“I feel on top of the world, quite literally,” she said. “I’m ecstatic, it’s been a really tough year. Coming into these championships it was all about putting the process together.

“The start of the week didn’t go to plan, so it was about regrouping and I’m so blessed to have incredible people around me.

“To put the race together and get my hands on the world first is special. This one means a lot so a massive shout out to everyone in my corner.”

Leonhardt won gold and helped Australia set a world record with the mixed 4 x 100m medley relay 49 points team.

Paige Leonhardt who struck gold in the mixed medley relay. Picture Delly Carr

Taking advantage of a lead from the first two legs, Leonhardt competed the butterfly in 1:06.09 as the Aussies touched first in 4:07.71 – almost two seconds inside the previous best.

“It kind of hurt the second 50m. I had an amazing lead and knew I just had to hang on for dear life,” she said.

“(I have) just realised it was a world record too, so really proud of the team tonight.”

The former Burpengary swimmer was also seventh in the women’s 200m individual medley S14 in 2:34.72 and sixth in the women’s 100m butterfly S14 in 1:07.63.

Earlier in the championships Leonhardt won bronze in the women’s 100m breaststroke S14.

Hall, 30, turned back the clock to take the bronze medal in the men’s 400m freestyle S9 in 4:15.55, shaving seven seconds off his heat swim time of 4:22.77.

Bronze for Brenden Hall at the world titles. Picture Delly Carr

“Pretty stoked to be able to pick up the bronze again I knew it was going to be a bit of a fight towards the end of the race so pretty happy to get my hand on the wall and bring home a medal.

“The final was about putting all that power into it and whatever I’ve got left in the tank and trying to get my hand on the wall as quickly as possible,” he said.

“It’s something I’ve worked on over the years, making those drops as big as possible and saving as much for the final that I can.

“(I am) really excited for the next 12 months, means I’ve still got a bit of fight left in me and hopefully we can bring it home in Paris.”

The 30-year-old swam the backstroke as Australia’s mixed 4x100m medley relay squad just missed a medal finishing fourth in 4:37.62.

Hall was also seventh in the men’s 100m backstroke S9 final in 1:06.35 to close out another successful meeting for the ex-Lawnton swimmer.

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