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Paralympics 2012: 15-year-old Josef Craig breaks world record

6th September 2012

• Teenager swimmer powers through S7 400m freestyle heats
• ‘I just don’t know what to say, it’s just amazing’

The British 15-year-old Paralympic swimmer Josef Craig said he was dumbfounded after breaking the world record in the S7 400m freestyle heats.

Craig cut his own best by nine seconds as he set down a marker in four minutes 45.79 seconds. The South Shields-born teenager’s time was 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 young, just take it one step at a time.’

“I just don’t know what to say about that, it’s just amazing.”

Craig trained in Manchester for three weeks ahead of the holding camp immediately before the squad travelled to London, something from which he has no doubt benefited.

He added: “I’ve been training really hard but I never thought there would be a world record time in there. It just goes to show what amazing help I’ve got up at Manchester.

“I couldn’t have done it without them and the support I’ve had – the pace work from Jon Fox, he’s been a very big help, and Mick Massey and Andy Scanlon, the two coaches. They have just really helped us and without them I couldn’t have done this.”

Fox was second fastest through in 4min 49.91sec making the possibility of two Britons on the podium on Thursday night a very real prospect.

The 21-year-old was magnanimous about his younger team-mate wresting his world record and said: “Josef is 15 and has been training really well and hats off to him for breaking it.

“I am a good team player, I take a defeat when I get one and we’ll see – I’ll come back fighting tonight and hopefully there will be two Britons on the podium so we’ll see what happens.”


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