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12 Dec 2007

Paralympic swimmer Liz Johnson may have smashed a world record on the weekend but she is certainly not resting on her laurels.

The Athens silver medallist smashed the SB6 world 100m breaststroke record, clocking 1:40.09, at the Welsh National meet in Swansea. Though upbeat, the Newport talent explained how she is not letting it go to her head just yet:

"Swansea gave me confidence," she said. "I know now I am capable of winning in Beijing. I am world record holder and I’m ranked world no.1 so I’m the one who people are chasing. But you can’t take that for granted because when you’re behind the blocks the rankings go out the window. The fastest time on paper doesn’t matter – it’s the one who wins the race."Liz Johnson web

The swimmer – who lives in Swansea with boyfriend and track cyclist Jody Cundy – was particularly pleased that her tapering down for the event worked well and paid off:

"Before the competition, I was hoping I could swim well – I was testing out the taper which I’ve been working on with my coach Billy Pye. I took three quarters of a second off which is really big and I took two seconds off in my other race so it seems I’ve found a taper which works. I’ve been wanting to iron this out since Athens where we didn’t get it right. Hopefully, I can improve now and shave off more time in Beijing."

Looking ahead at training over the coming months, she is managing to take some time off over the festive season and then heads off for warm weather training:

"I’ve got Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day off – the swimming pool’s closed so I get a rest! Other than that, it’s full steam ahead. I leave for Australia at the beginning of January to escape the bad weather – it’ll be good to get a change of atmosphere. It’s hard to get up at 5:15am every day when it’s still dark. It’ll be a good pick me up."

Johnson also picked up silver, behind Colchester’s Natalie Jones, in the women’s SM6 200m individual medley.

Meanwhile, fellow Welsh Paralympians were also on form. One-man medal winning machine David Roberts demonstrated his winning freestyle ability with three golds over 100m, 200m and 400m.

Bridgend’s Rhiannon Henry – who jetted over from Montreal where she is at University – delivered two gold medals for Wales in the women’s S10 50m freestyle and the 100m S13 free.

Having swapped her training base in Manchester for Leominster, 27-year-old Nyree Lewis won gold in the 100m S6 backstroke and finished in silver position in the 100m breaststroke.