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Women progress to 800m freestyle final

01 August 2002

Natalie Du Toit (RSA) qualified for the women’s 800m freestyle final in amazing fashion at the Manchester Aquatics Centre this morning.

Rebecca Cooke

Rebecca Cooke: fast heat swim

Du Toit, who won gold in last night’s EAD 50m freestyle final lost part of her leg in an accident and her bravery is sure to capture the imagination of the world’s press.

Afterwards Du Toit said: “It’s the greatest thing mentally to make a final at the Commonwealth Games to show that disabled people can compete and achieve.”

“I’ve always been a distance swimmer, and that’s how I see myself. I was more nervous in the 50m yesterday, because I’d never swum disability before and I didn’t know what to expect. People might see me differently, but I am the same person. I haven’t changed.

“I’ve qualified in eighth place – I just hope I can go faster tomorrow. I’ve also got the EAD 100m freestyle tomorrow. I don’t know which comes first, but one will be a good warm-up for the other.”

With just 10 swimmers spread across two heats, eight of the competitors were assured a place in the final with Dawn Jason (WAL) and Roberta Callus (MAL) eventually the two to miss out.

England’s Rebecca Cooke was impressive with a time of 8:33.31 winning heat 2 while the first heat was won by Australia’s Amanda Pascoe.

Heat 1 qualifiers
1: Amanda Pascoe (AUS) – 8:40.88
2: Janelle Atkinson (JAM) – 8:41.91
3: Natalie Brown (ENG) – 8:46.51

Heat 2 qualifiers
1: Rebecca Cooke (ENG) – 8:33.31
2: Jennifer Reilly (AUS) – 8:43.77
3: Caroline Saxby (ENG) – 8:53.51
4: Danielle Bell (CAN) – 8:54.11
5: Natalie Du Toit (RSA) – 9:12.14

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