South Africa’s Natalie du Toit, aiming for selection for the open water event at this year’s able-bodied World Swimming Championships in Rome in July, after making her Olympic debut in the event last year, won the 100 metre freestyle at the BT Paralympic Cup in Manchester at the weekend, beating Britain’s Louise Watkin and fellow Briton Stephanie Millward into second and third.
‘For me it was important to come and represent my country and show my support for the event,” said du Toit, the winner of five Paralympic golds in Beijing.
‘Back home we wish we had the sort of opportunities that the British team has and it is really bringing the sport up.
‘I came here not knowing what to expect because the open water training is so different to training for a 100m event.
‘It wasn’t my greatest race and I probably didn’t give it everything, but to come and compete was important.