LONDON – Josef Craig claimed gold in the S7 400 metres freestyle today, breaking his own world record in the process.
The 15-year-old swam four minutes 42.81 seconds to beat the mark of 4mins 45.79 secs he set in the morning’s heat, winning by 3.41 seconds from China’s Pan Shiyun.
Craig said: “I genuinely didn’t think this would happen but I thought ‘last 400m of the season, it doesn’t matter if I die at the end, just go for it, it doesn’t matter.
“I didn’t realise that I’d broken the world record, I didn’t think I had it in me. But obviously because of this great crowd again and all this support, I managed to. It means more than anything in the world. It’s the happiest day of my life.”
Craig, who was born with cerebral palsy, was already staggered to have defied his tender years as he set a new world record in the morning heats as ParalympicsGB continued to sizzle in the pool.
The 15-year-old cut his own best by nine seconds as he hurled down a marker of what was to follow in the evening, recording four minutes 45.79s.
The South Shields-born teenager’s time saw him dip 1.37secs inside team-mate Jonathan Fox’s world record set at last year’s European Championships in Berlin.
Craig was completely taken aback and said: “I thought ‘God I’ve just done a massive PB, that will be my achievements done for this competition’, but then I got my focus back and saw it was a world record next to the time and I just thought there’s a problem with the clock here.
“I can’t break a world record yet, I’m still 15, just take it one step at a time but I just don’t know what to say about that, it’s just amazing.”