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Du Toit signs off with a silver

7th September 2012, 08:47pm

Du Toit with silver and Cole with gold

Du Toit with silver and Cole with gold

Natalie du Toit's pioneering swimming career came to an end with a silver in the S9 100 metres freestyle in London.

Ellie Cole of Australia won the gold in one minute 02.77 seconds, an Oceania record, 0.68secs ahead of South African Du Toit, 28, who brought the curtain down on her career with 13 Paralympic titles over three Games having also appeared in non-disabled events at both the Olympics and Commonwealth Games.

Britain's Louise Watkin finished fifth in 1min 4.45secs, while Lauren Steadman was eighth.Du Toit said: "It's all over. I went out there and tried my best. I now walk away from the sport. To get second is a little disappointing.

"Two months ago I wasn't going to come (to the Paralympics). It's been a tough couple of months. I look back and realise I gave everything in the pool and gave everything as a person, it's time to move on. I've no idea what's next."

Cole added: "I actually feel really bad about beating Natalie. I know I should feel really stoked, but it was her last race and I did want her to do really well."

Watkin, who appeared close to tears, did not speak to reporters after the race with the medley relay ahead of her.

Sascha Kindred's mixed Games continued when he was disqualified following the S6 50m butterfly after initially finishing fifth.

The 34-year-old still has the S6 50m freestyle remaining but his two finals have so far brought him a welcome silver in the SM6 200m individual medley but fourth in the SB6 100m breaststroke after which he was clearly upset.

Of his disqualification, Kindred said: "I don't know. I've not seen what the judges have said about that. It's not the greatest of my last swims at these Games, but it's one of those things. I was preparing for the medley and that was my focus, so it was a case of having a good medley swim and everything else was a bonus.

"I can't be too disappointed with my performance, especially in the medley."

Neither would the Leominster Kingfisher swimmer make any immediate decisions about his future given he has competed at five Paralympics, having made his debut in Atlanta in 1996.

"I have to go back home and re-evaluate what I've done and where I go. I know I'm capable of quicker times. I know what I do in training and I know I can go quicker on my medley, so it's a case of deciding in a few weeks' time after I've had a bit of time off and spent a bit of time with my family."

Bradley Snyder won the S11 400m freestyle - a year to the day after the former soldier was blinded by an explosion in Afghanistan.

The American, who won in 4:32.41, said: "The best aspect of swimming is to be good at something again.

"During my time with the military I was pretty good at a diverse range of skills such as jumping, diving, electronics and explosives.

"My capability in all those regards was stripped off me without my eyesight. I can't do any of those things as well as I used to.

"To be able to hop back in the pool and feel good at something, it gives me a lot of confidence back in the things I struggle with.

"Get me to the block and I can execute a great race."

Andrew Mullen was fourth in the S5 50m butterfly as the 15-year-old concluded his Paralympic debut.

The Glasgow-born swimmer had set a personal best this morning, dipping under the 40-second mark.

Although he could not repeat that this evening, Mullen finished in a highly-creditable 40.04.

It means he ends his programme in London with two fourth places and an eighth which bodes well for a promising future.

Mullen said: "Overall I'm pleased with the swim, it's my second fastest time ever and I executed my race plan really well.

"It's been an amazing experience. I learned how to cope with nerves and cope with a big crowd and not let it bother me.

"In four years I'll be bigger and stronger and I'm sure I will be able to catch them then."

James Clegg was sixth in the S12 50m freestyle to draw his Games to a close.

The 18-year-old had been surprised to even reach the final when he scraped through in joint seventh this morning.

He improved on that to finish in 25.20 at the end of a programme where he took home a bronze in the S12 100m butterfly.

Hannah Russell was fourth in the women's equivalent.

The Surrey schoolgirl has had a hectic few months which have seen her take her GCSEs, turn 16 and then make her Paralympic debut.

Her campaign in London has exceeded her wildest expectations with a silver medal in the S12 400m freestyle as well as two third-place finishes in the 100m butterfly and the 100m backstroke.

Tonight Russell was up with the leaders until the 30-metre mark before she was left behind to touch in 28.07.

Rhiannon Henry was fourth in the SM13 200m individual medley in the penultimate event of the night.

The 25-year-old was first after the butterfly leg but fell to fourth by the halfway stage, a position from which she never moved to touch in 2:32.84.

It was her second fourth place of the Games after she was just outside the medals in the S13 100m freestyle and seventh in the one-length event.

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