By LIAM DURKIN
TRARALGON swimming export Ruby Storm achieved her goal of winning a medal at the Paralympics, claiming bronze in the 100 metres S14 butterfly on Wednesday night.
The 17-year-old touched in with a time of 1:06.50, narrowly trailing fellow Aussie Paige Leonhardt and Russian winner Valeriia Shabalina.
As well as the medal, Storm also set a personal best time in the 100 metre race.
Storm, who is currently based on the Sunshine Coast and trained by Nathan Doyle, had support from across the country, as family and friends tuned in to cheer her on.
Mum Fiona was in Queensland for the race, while dad Josh (who is waiting for the border to reopen) looked on from Traralgon.
Fiona Storm was understandably beaming with pride when asked how she felt seeing her daughter perform on the big stage.
“You get quite emotional thinking about it … what she has done, leading up to Tokyo and selection, all the lockdowns, not being able to train … to her credit she has done really well,” she said.
A nervous watcher at the best of times, Fiona said her heart rate was pulsating as the end of the race neared.
Fiona was able to call Ruby post-race, and reported the youngster was ecstatic with her result.
“She was really happy. She got back really late on Wednesday night … she was on a high,” she said.
“We asked her if she knew she was in third place and she said she didn’t until she touched the wall so it was a big shock.”
Back home the Traralgon Swimming Club embraced the achievement of its latest Paralympic hero.
“That was a fantastic swim and we congratulate Ruby, her current and past coaches, particularly our Dean Gooch who spent six years working with Ruby during her time with Traralgon,” the club posted on its Facebook page.
“We are very proud of Ruby and Dean in assisting her to reach this wonderful pinnacle of her swimming career to date. Go Ruby! Go Traralgon!”
Storm has further races to come, with the 200m individual medley tomorrow and the 100m backstroke on Thursday. She finished seventh in the S14 200m freestyle on Friday.