Pride of Bath play their part in Paralympics medal haul
Bath athletes have played their part in the growing medal haul of Great Britain's Paralympics team.
Great Britain are homing in on the target of 103 medals set by UK Sport and the aim to maintain second place in the medal table.
Leading the way for the Bath is Stepanie Millward, the once champion able-bodied swimmer who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
Millward set a new European record of 4:40.01 in the women's S9 400m freestyle, her silver being her third medal of the London games.
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She also won a bronze in the women's 4x100m Freestyle Relay (34 points) and silver in the women's S9 100m Backstroke.
Millward was almost 10 seconds adrift of legend Natalie du Toit, who claimed her third successive 400m freestyle title. She said: “Natalie du Toit came up to me and said ’well done Stephanie’ and she never does that so that was fantastic.
“I used her as my pacing, I knew she was going to go very fast. I used her as a positive rather than a negative.
“She’s a lovely, lovely person. You want to hate her because she wins so many medals but you can’t because she’s just so very nice," added Millward, the 30-year-old from Corsham, who was also fifth in the S9 100m Butterfly.
Former bobsleighter turned rower David Smith won gold in the LTA mixed coxed four.
Smith and his GB crew of Naomi Riches, Pamela Relph and James Roe coxed by Lily van den Broecke, were favourites for gold having won the World Championships last year and being unbeaten during 2012.
On the track, University of Bath-based athlete Paul Blake sprinted to silver in the T36 400m.
The 22-year-old son of a Star Wars actor and ballet dancer, who is coached at the Bath Sports Training Village by Rob Ellchuk, threw his hands in the air in celebration as he crossed the finishing line, before setting off on a lap of honour draped in the Union Flag.
Afterwards he said having the crowd behind him was like having "a second pair of legs".
“I thought I could medal as long I could execute my race,” said Blake.
“I was so nervous, Rob told me to take in the crowd at the start and then concentrate on the first 200m, go out strong, not panic and try to stay between Shvetcov and Pavlyk which I did.
“He told me to go through in 26s then try to stay loose and relaxed with a long stride and go after them.
“The crowd was like having a second pair of legs, it was just amazing.”
University of Bath Sports Performance graduate Katrina Hart helped the ParalympicsGB women's 4x100m T35-38 relay quartet to a bronze medal.
Hart ran the third leg for the British team as they came home third in 56.08 seconds behind Russia and China after surviving a scare at the final baton change.
"I love that bend. I just absolutely went for it and I heard the crowd just roaring and it was incredible...amazing. It was touch and go on the last leg but we held them off so it's great," said Hart, who also finished sixth in the women's 100m T37 final.
Two other Bath athletes made Paralympic finals but were out of the medals. Sophie Kamlish finished fifth in the women's T44 100m final and Ben Rushgrove could only manage sixth in the men's T36 100m final.
Back in the pool Chloe Davies finished a creditable fifth in the women's S14 100m Backstroke showdown and Liz Johnson was sixth in the women's SM6 200m Individual Medley won by Ellie Simmonds in world record time.