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Swimming: Du Toit clinches fourth gold, plenty of world records tumble
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09:22, September 13, 2008

Natalie du Toit grabbed her fourth gold medal at the Beijing Paralympics by winning women's 400m freestyle S9 here on Friday as plenty of world records also went by the wayside.

The South African amputee swimmer, who cruised to the final in a fastest 4 minutes 24.75 seconds, took the winning time further down to 4:23.28, shaving 0.68 seconds off her former world mark set in 2005.

However, Du Toit was still not satisfied with the result despite her record time beat the runner-up by 15.92 seconds.

"I didn't think I did a best time. It's only an OK time for what I have been doing and how I have been training," she said.

"I concentrate on going every 100 meters faster. I had a really bad turn and had to stop and start again, which wasted a lot of energy," said the winner.

Du Toit, who had won the 100m freestyle, 100m butterfly and 200m individual medley earlier this week, will take her final swim in 50m freestyle on Sunday. To take the fifth gold is what she wants.

"Definitely my goal is to get the gold, but anything could happen and it's a great challenge as there is only one lap. I will try to swim my best," said Du Toit.

As the world record holder of her five Paralympic events, Du Toit was also the first female amputee to compete in the Olympics. The 24-year-old African finished 16th among 25 competitors in the 10-kilometer open-water swim last month at the Beijing Games.

Elsewhere, Xie Qing's victory in the women's 100m freestyle S11 gifted the hosts the only swimming gold of the day.

The 20-year-old Xie, who advanced fastest to the final, touched the wall first with a strong spurt, bettering the Italian runner-up by 0.69 seconds.

Xie's winning time of 1:08.96 also shattered her world record set in this morning's heat, chopping a further 1.40 seconds.

But different from the Olympic swimmers, Xie didn't think the bubble-shaped aquatic venue Water Cube, which engendered 22 new world records at last month's Olympics, propelled her to the thrilling victory.

"That's not easy for me to get the gold. Before I came here, I heard many Olympians saying it was good to compete here. But during the training, I thought the Water Cube actually didn't fit me so well," she said.

"Although I am unable to see, I enjoy the Paralympics very much," said Xie, who shed tears at the medal ceremony.

"Every time the national anthem is played at the Paralympic Games, I can't help crying," she added.

A total of 14 world records fell in the pool on Friday. The record breakers included Oleksii Fedyna of Ukraine, Sam Hynd of Britain and China's Xie.

After six days of competition, the United States led the swimming tally with 14 golds, followed by Britain with nine and Spain with eight. Host China stood ninth with four.


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1 China 38 44 30 112
2 Great Britain 35 20 18 73
3 USA 23 16 18 57
4 Ukraine 16 10 18 44
5 Australia 14 18 17 49
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