Elusive gold finally arrives for patient Watt

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Sydney Uni’s Prue Watt had to wait eight years to have a Paralympic gold medal placed around her neck, but in London the wait was finally over as she achieved the pinnacle of her swimming career.

The Sydney Uni Sport & Fitness (SUSF) Elite Athlete Program (EAP) scholarship holder and Sydney Uni Swim Club (SUSC) Access Swim Program representative headed to her third Paralympics in London with five Paralympic silver medals and one bronze medal, and as world No. 1 in two events.

Gold had previously eluded Watt, but the science student called upon all of her available calmness and patience and saved her best for last at the London Aquatics Centre, winning the SB13 100m breaststroke in her final event of the competition.

Watt finished in a time of 1:19.19, an Oceania and Australian record, some 1.12 seconds clear of Germany’s Elena Krawzow in second place.

“I’ve wanted that (gold medal) so much for so long,” Watt told ABC Radio after her race on Sunday morning (Sydney time).

“I can’t believe it at this point – I’m sure it will kick in soon.

“I’m incredibly excited by that swim. I’m just relieved I guess as well.”

Swimming in an exhausting five events- all of which she qualified for finals – Watt picked up a bronze medal earlier in the competition in the SB13 50m freestyle, where she swum a personal best time.

Fellow Sydney Uni Swim Club (SUSC) Access Swim Program representatives Katrina Porter and Sarah Rose also swum brilliantly for Australia in London, with both girls making finals and smashing personal best times.

Porter, an SUSF EAP scholarship holder and commerce student, qualified for three finals in her third Paralympics – S7 100m backstroke, 100m breaststroke and 400m freestyle. Her best finish was a sixth place in the 100m breaststroke final.  

Also competing at her third Games is Sarah Rose who swum personal bests in all three of her events – S6 200m IM, 50m freestyle and 50m butterfly. Rose produced her best swim of the meet in the 50m butterfly, breaking the Oceania and Australian record as she finished sixth.

31 University Sydney athletes finished with seven Paralympic and seven Olympic Games medals for Australia in London – the University’s greatest combined haul ever.