COPS star Simmons shows he’s got that ‘podium potential’

Jaxon Simmons.

Jaxon Simmons.

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Last year City of Peterborough Swimming Club youngster Jaxon Simmons was selected for the Team GB ‘Podium Potential’ squad.

And at last week’s British Para-Swimming International meet in Glasgow he more than justified that selection, which is for swimmers earmarked to win medals at future Olympics and Paraylmpics.

The 16 year-old Arthur Mellows Village College student reached five finals at the big meeting and he clocked seven personal best (PB) times along the way.

The meeting provided British swimmers with a first opportunity to automatically qualify for the British Paralympics team going to Rio de Janeiro later this year.

Simmons may have missed out on that but did more than enough to suggest he’ll be a contender for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics or maybe even the 2017 or 2019 World Championships.

COPS head coach Ben Negus said: “Overall these championships were a great learning experience for Jaxon who got to race in the pool with elite para-swimmers who were setting new world records as Jaxon himself was improving his own times.

“Rio is probably too soon for Jaxon to step up to world class, but we are confident his talent will place him alongside the best in the not too distant future.”

Swimmers in Glasgow were awarded points according to how close their times were to the world record with 1,000 points being the world record itself.

Simmons, who competes in the S13 category because of a sight impairment, opened with a new PB in his 100m freestyle heat of 1:01.75 for 558 points.

That got him into the final where he set another PB of 1:01.68 for 560 points and 22nd place overall.

Another PB followed in the 100m breaststroke event, where he clocked 1:23.05 for 449 points.

On his second day of competition, Simmons continued his PB-fest, first with 1:13.10 in the 100m butterfly heats for 413 points and then with 1:10.76 in the final for 455 points and 12th place overall.

On day three, Simmons was competing in his preferred event, the 400m freestyle.

In the heats, he lowered his PB time by 4.34 seconds with 4:34.49 for 632 points and set another PB time of 4:29.24 for 670 points in the final and 10th place overall.

On the last day of competition it was the shorter event of the 50m freestyle where another PB time of 28.76 for 525 points earned Simmons a fifth final appearance. Another best followed as he clocked 28.54 for 537 points and 22nd place overall.

In his final event, the 200m individual medley, Simmons set his seventh PB time at the championships with 2:37.14 for 489 points and he agonisingly missed qualification for the final by one place.