27 Aug 2021
USC Spartans swimmers Katja Dedekind and Keira Stephens showed plenty of grit and determination to win bronze medals in Tokyo on Thursday night.
Dedekind, 20, swam a personal best time of 1:06.49 in the S13 100m backstroke to replicate her medal-winning performance at the Rio Games five years ago.
The USC Arts student from Sippy Downs finished behind American swimmer Gia Pergolini – who set a new world record of 1:04.64 – and Carlotta Gilli of Italy in 1:06.10.
Stephens of Hervey Bay, who is studying a Diploma in Social and Human Services, said prior to her SB9 100m breaststroke final that her goal was to stay with the impressive Dutch duo of Chantalle Zijderveld and Lisa Kruger.
And the 18-year-old did just that, slicing 1.5 seconds off her heat time yesterday morning to claim bronze in 1:17.59 in a race that also saw the world record fall.
Stephens, who on Wednesday just missed out on the 50m freestyle final, has two more races in the 4x100m medley relay on Thursday and the 200m individual medley next Friday.
Dedekind will return to the pool today (Friday 27 August) for the 400m freestyle and on Sunday will contest the 50m freestyle in her category.
Yesterday’s Paralympic action also saw the Australian wheelchair rugby team, which includes Chris Bond, defeat France 50-48 in a gripping battle. And USC graduate Hannah Dodd scored seven points in the Australian women’s wheelchair basketball team’s 77-58 loss to Germany.
There are 10 USC-affiliated athletes competing in the Paralympics. Results so far are:
- Ben Hance – bronze in S14 100m butterfly
- Ruby Storm – bronze in S14 100m butterfly
- Katja Dedekind – bronze in S13 100m backstroke
- Keira Stephens – bronze in SB9 100m breaststroke; ninth fastest in S10 50m freestyle
- Ellie Cole – fourth in S9 400m freestyle
— Terry Walsh
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