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The Age
Record medal haul in sights

Record medal haul in sights

Wed July 11, 2012 12:35am

Matthew Cowdrey has the title of Australia's greatest ever Paralympian in his sights.

MATTHEW Cowdrey will head to London with the title of Australia's greatest Paralympian firmly in his sights, but head swim coach Brendan Keogh says many are clambering to claim his scalp.

Cowdrey will spearhead a 35-strong Paralympic swimming team, which was announced yesterday, for the Games, which start on August 29.

The 23-year-old, who was born with a congenital amputation to his lower left arm, was the best-performing Paralympian in Beijing, winning five gold and three silver medals from eight events, and the expectation on him is high.

He will attempt to win gold in his third consecutive Paralympics in the 100 metres freestyle and 200 individual medley, and two relays.

Keogh said Cowdrey, who swims in the S9 classification for his individual events except for the 100 breaststroke, in which he will compete in the S8, would face a far tougher field in London.

''He's classification is way, way tougher than what it was in Beijing, and the whole world is out to get him,'' him said.

''In Athens he was the hunter and there was an element of that still in Beijing, and now he is definitely the hunted and people are out to beat him.

''I can probably say that at the Paralympics in the men's events his scalp, if anyone can get it, will be one of the greatest rewards for any swimmer for any other nation.''

Cowdrey's task has also become harder after several competitors who had been competing in the S10 classification, for swimmers with lesser physical disabilities, had been reclassified into S9.

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