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The start of something extraordinary

Golden world record for Cameron

Northland’s Cameron Leslie produced a superb performance to successfully defend his Paralympic title in the pool in London.

The Auckland-based student did so in style, by soundly beating his own world record that he set in Beijing in the 150m individual medley.

His winning time of 2:25.98 was nearly five seconds better than his winning effort in Beijing.

"There's no secret behind it, it's just all hard work," said Leslie. "That's the time we've been going for for a long time and it's bloody hugely satisfying to see it pull off like that."

"The idea was to get out to a good lead and build on that lead, rather than consolidate like I have in the past.

"When you think of a four-year campaign it's a very long time and to come and win a gold medal and succeed in all your goals along the way, that's special."

He was fastest in the morning heats in 2:32.96, more than six seconds faster than his nearest competitor.

Leslie showed the benefit of hard work on the backstroke leg, actually breaking the 50m world record (41.42) in the lead-off leg of the relay on the way to his overall new world mark and gold medal.

It was a double medal night in the pool with Mary Fisher grabbing her third medal of the Games with a silver in the 100m backstroke.

The Wellington swimmer set a Paralympic record in the heats of 1:20.89 and was locked in a tight battle in the final. She went more than a second faster with a 1:19.62 but was edged for the gold medal by Japan’s world record holder Rina Akyyama in the final.

"I had a really really good heat swim and I couldn't believe I qualified first for the final by three splits, but tonight I gave it everything I possibly could have. I'm really, really happy," she said.

Mary now has two silver medals and one bronze medal from her three swims and will set herself for the 400m freestyle in four days time.

Fisher will enjoy four days off competition before returning for the SM11 women's 400m freestyle.

Seventeen-year-old teammate Aine Kelly-Costello from North Shore, coached by Gary Francis, finished sixth in the same final in 1:24.70.

The team’s youngest competitor, 13 year old Nikita Howarth from Cambridge finished sixth in the demanding 200m individual medley  in 3:10.48, a three second improvement from her heat.