Kirkby swim ace Ollie Hynd easily secured his place in tonight’s S8 400m freestyle final (9.44pm) with a comfortable victory in his heat as the Rio Paralympics got underway this afternoon.
Ollie, who claimed silver in this event on his Paralympic debut at London 2012 tore away to win in 41.31.90, well outside his own world record of 4.23.76, but well clear of the field with American Robert Griswold second in 4.38.46 and Brazilain Caio Oliveira third in 4.40.64.
Joining him in tonight’s final will be fellow Brit Josef Craig, who led the first heat until the penultimate length when he was overtaken by two Chinese to finish third.
Xu Haihiao won it in 4.41.10 with Wang Yinan second in 4.41.10 and Josef third in 4.41.18.
Ollie will defend the Paralympic gold title won in London in the SM8 200m individual medley on Saturday, 17th September with the heats at 1.52pm and the final at 9.43pm.
Ollie will also try to better his London bronze in the S8 100m backstroke on Tuesday (September 13) with the heats at 3.04pm and final at 11.14pm.
Ollie Hynd MBE is a Paralympic, World, European and Commonwealth Champion, one of the few athletes in history to hold all of those titles at the same time.