Golden girl Summers-Newton tops off superb week by sharing medal podium with idol Simmonds
Northampton's Maisie Summers-Newton scripted a fairy-tale ending to the World Para Swimming Championships as she shared the podium with idol Ellie Simmonds in London.
The Northampton Swimming Club prodigy rounded off a week that saw her crowned 200m individual medley world champion with super silver in the SB6 100m breaststroke.
And sharing the rostrum with five-time Paralympic champion Simmonds, who inspired Summers-Newton and many others to pursue para swimming, was the ideal way to end the week at the London Aquatics Centre.
“Being on the podium with Ellie made it extra special,” said the 17-year-old, who goes to Wollaston School.
“In my last race of the week, to finish it off with her was amazing. She’s such a great athlete and person.
“We’re always chatting away in the call room before races and we calm each other down. It’s a bit surreal because she’s someone I’ve always looked up to.
“The crowd has been fantastic all week. I remember watching Ellie win at London 2012 and the noise from then has been there this year.”
Summers-Newton, crowned European champion in the event last year in Dublin, came up short of gold as China’s Daomin Liu broke the world record with a time of 1:29.87.
But the British teenager wasn’t far away, coming in 3.5 secs behind the 20-year-old in European record time.
The Midlands product, who burst onto the scene in Ireland last year with three gold medals on Championship debut, has bolstered her reputation on the global stage with three medals on global debut
Summers-Newton admitted she knew the Chinese athlete had the edge on her but still revelled in the Aquatics Centre atmosphere, right down to the final moment.
“It was a special moment,” she said. “I felt the gold was nearly there, but I knew she had it in the end. I went out there on the first 50 and tried to keep up with her. I still pushing in the final 50.
“Having this event at home is great with a year to come. It’s given the British team a boost and the support is really helping.”
Summers-Newton's silver medal success came just a few days after she claimed World Championship gold in the SM6 200m individual medley in a time of 2:57.24.
With merely winning a place at the Paralympics in Tokyo 2020 her long-stated goal, the NSC ace now admits only topping the rostrum in Japan will do.
"It's the best race of my life, no question,” said Summers-Newton. “I've got to be thinking about podiums in Tokyo now - I've got to take one step at a time but that's definitely the goal.
“Tokyo has always been one of my aims, since London 2012 really, I’ve always said I wanted to go.
“I’ve got to qualify, but if you get to a Paralympics, you never know what will happen.”
In what was an excellent week of competition, Summers-Newton also bagged a bronze medal in the 100m freestyle.