Team GB teenager, Ellie Simmonds, has just won her heat in the 400 metres freestyle – by a margin too large to guess at and in a personal best time, breaking the Paralympics record. She was a fraction outside the world record, clearly in he grasp.
Ellie has dwarfism, which must reduce her power capacity in reach and kick. This was a phenomenal swim. She just kept accelerating from a fast start and with a swimming style that is one of the best across both London 2012 games – smooth, flat, low, powerful – like the guided missile she is.
In the second heat is Victoria Arlen of the USA who is swimming under the stress of a classification dispute. She is actually being re-classified as she swims this heat – unimaginably challenging at all points.
Paralympians have a much more complex competitive context.
Victoria Arlen caught a virus and was in a persistent vegetative state for two years, left with severe muscle atrophy.
A former swimmer, she swam as part of her physical rehabilitation and became a paralympian. She has progressively improved and now the dispute is whether she has a permanent disability her training is progressively pushing back; or whether her disability is in retreat.
The authorities took away her classification days ago and she is now in the process of being retested while competing.
Experts watching her are saying they can see real evidence of impairment in her movement through the water. But the assessors may even declare her ineligible for the paralympics altogether.
She has just won her heat, just inside the paralympic record ellie Simmonds has just6 set.
A final with these two in it would be a spectacular thriller.
Richard Whitehead has also just run a world record to take Gold in the Mens’ T42 200 metre sprint.
Richard is a double amputee and runs with prosthetic legs without flexible knee joints, He likes them that way and has developed a unique straight-legged running style with a powerful upper body.
He was almost last at around 60 metres and then just stepped on the gas, belting through the fast field and winning by what looked like 10 metres.
Richard also runs the marathon and has his eye in that discipline for Rio – now that wold be some double – the 200 metres and the marathon.
He said he has so many people around him who support success that this makes him successful.
Food for thought in every possible sphere.