Worlds await para quartet

Published 6:00am 23 May 2023

Worlds await para quartet
Words by Nick Crockford

Picture illustration: From left - Paige Leonhardt, Lakeisha Patterson, coach Harley Connolly, Brenden Hall. 

The World Para Championships countdown has started for three former Burpengary swimmers - and their coach - named in Australia’s squad.

Brenden Hall, who grew up in Petrie and lived at Mango Hill, has been joined by Caboolture-based Lakeisha “Lucky” Patterson in the Dolphins’ squad.

Paige Leonhardt, who lived outside this region but trained at Burpengary, has also been named in the team flying to the worlds in Manchester (July 31-August 6).

Overseeing the squad will be former Lawnton and Belgravia (Burpengary) head coach Harley Connolly, from Bribie Island, one of two head coaches for the Australian Paralympic team.

Connolly joined USC Spartans, at Sippy Downs, late last year to head up Swimming Australia's Paralympic Hub program. Hall, Patterson and Paige followed.

Hall booked his ticket to the UK with second place in the 400m freestyle S9 at the Australian Championships, clocking 4 minutes 18.16 seconds.

The 29-year-old, who has eight golds from five world titles, is entered in the 400m freestyle S9, 100m butterfly S9 and 100m backstroke S9 at Manchester.

Patterson, 24, who has two golds from five worlds, won the 400m freestyle S9 final at last month’s national championships in 4 minutes 44.31 seconds.

In Manchester Lucky will race the 50m, 100 and 400m S9 freestyle and 200m individual medley (IM) SM9.

The Australian Dolphins squad after being named at the national championships.

At the nationals, Leonhardt touched first in the 50m butterfly S14 in 29.92 seconds and was runner-up in the 100m breaststroke SB14 in 1 minute 18.53 seconds.

The 22-year-old came home with one gold and two silver medals from last year’s world championships in Madeira.

This year in the UK she will contest the 200m freestyle S14, 200m IM SM14, 100m breaststroke SB14 and 100m butterfly S14.

Relay teams tend to be finalised at the meets.

“I’m really impressed with how the (entire squad) swimmers have shaped up and put their bodies on the line to get themselves on the Australian Team,” said Connolly.

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