Wellington's Mary Fisher starred with gold as the swimmers made a late splash to take the New Zealand Paralympics team within a whisker of their medal goal as the Games finished in London yesterday.
Having set the target of 18 medals - six more than four years ago in Beijing - New Zealand finished with 17.
That left them 21st on the overall table and there could be few complaints about their effort at an event that took the Paralympics to new heights both in performance and profile.
Once again it was the New Zealand swim team who provided the glow on the final day of competition.
Fisher claimed gold in the S11 200m individual medley to overshadow Sophie Pascoe's silver in the 100m breaststroke. Daniel Sharp claimed silver in his 100m breaststroke final, winning an appeal to be reinstated after he was disqualified for an alleged illegal kick.
The partially blind Fisher was the surprise package of the New Zealand team in her first Games.
The 19-year-old had been threatening to win a race after two silvers and a bronze, and it finally happened yesterday, coming in world record time of 2:46.91 as the final Kiwi in action.
She led from start to finish ahead of the more fancied Daniela Schulte of Germany, who'd only set the world record a few hours earlier in her heat.
“A gold medal and a world record in my final event, the final New Zealander to be competing at this event. I went out there and just put my best forward and I definitely can't believe it,” Fisher said.
It brought New Zealand's swimming tally to 12 medals, with Pascoe claiming half of those - three golds and three silvers. She has been a real star, her performances drawing international attention and acclaim. The Cantabrian finished no worse than second in all 12 of her races - six heats and six finals.
Having won four medals at the last Games as well, Pascoe made it clear she isn't finished yet. At just 19, the below the knee amputee is determined to do even better at the next Games in Rio de Janeiro.
"I had a great campaign and a successful one. But I'm still hungry for more, I love the competition, I love the feeling of what people pay to feel and that's the adrenaline rush and I want to have that again. You'll see me back," Pascoe said, noting that the silver medals were all close affairs.
“They're PBs in all of those silver races . . . yeah, it makes me hungrier."
Sharp had an anxious 25 minute wait before the judges admitted they got it wrong, overturning his disqualification in the 100m breaststroke.
Sharp was down and back in 1:06.72 knocking 2 seconds off his previous best.
“It was a bit stressful, I wasn't overly nervous because I was confident I hadn't done anything wrong," he said.
Middle distance runner Tim Prendergast, 33, was the other Kiwi in action yesterday. He finished fifth in his 800m T13 final in a personal best time of 1:55.85.
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