'Lucky' lives up to her name
SWIMMING: Caboolture 17-year-old Lakeisha Patterson has won Australia's first gold medal at the Rio Paralympics, setting a world record on the way on the first night of the swimming program.
Patterson, nicknamed "Lucky”, won the 400m freestyle final (S8 category) after leading from the 100m mark.
She shaved 0.11 of a second off the previous world best held by the USA's Jessica Long.
From the 100m Patterson increased her advantage at every turn, clocking 4min 40.33sec, seven seconds ahead of Long, who took silver in 4:47.82.
Fellow Aussie Maddison Elliott finished fourth in in 5:02.13.
Patterson started swimming at age three as a form of physical therapy to help with her cerebral palsy.
Having looked up to Long since coming on to the international scene in 2014, Patterson said it was bittersweet to take the record off Long, the 2012 Paralympic champion.
"It was pretty surreal. I knew I had to attack and go out hard and keep fighting for it, and I knew she was right behind me, so I just had to keep going forward,” Patterson said.
"Jess is an amazing and fierce competitor, and to be able to race alongside her and get past her was bittersweet because she has been my idol growing up.
"So to race alongside her and end up on top is quite amazing.
"Jess said she was really proud of me and can't believe how well I've done, and I really appreciated that.
"It was really nice. To hear those nice words from her really made me feel special.”
Patterson will have little time to celebrate the gold as she had heats of the women's 100m butterfly overnight, the second of her six individual events for the meet.
In other results on the first night for Australian swimmers, Madeleine Scott was less than a second off the bronze medal in the women's SB9 100m breaststroke, finishing fourth in 1:17.93, with Paige Leonhardt sixth in 1:20.44.
In the final of the men's S14 100m backstroke, Daniel Fox was sixth in 1:05.16 with Josh Alford eighth in 1:07.77.
In the men's S8 400m freestyle, Blake Cochrane (4:39.79) and Jesse Aungles (4:48.23) finished seventh and eighth respectively.
Games rookie Braedan Jason finished seventh in his final of the men's S13 100m butterfly in 1:00.12.
Despite hitting the wall fifth in the women's S6 100m backstroke, Tiffany Thomas Kane was disqualified for an incorrect turn.