BULL Creek swimmer Jeremy McClure believes he may well have a fifth Paralympic Games in him after falling less than one second short of the medals in Rio.
In his favoured event, the 100m backstroke, McClure blitzed his vision-impaired S11 heat to finish first in a personal best time of 1:09.79.
He backed that up the following day with another PB in the final but his time of 1:09.11 was only good enough for fifth behind Ukrainian winner Dymtro Zalevskyi who smashed the world record in a time of 1.06:66.
Pole Wojciech Makowski and American Bradley Snyder shared silver after both touching in 1:08.28.
McClure said he was happy to have recorded his best every Paralmypic finish, despite missing the podium.
“I was pretty pleased to go half a second under my personal best in my heat which had me seeded second for the final and gave me some confidence,” he said.
“I thought I still had a bit left in me for the final – obviously there were some quick swimmers and I think a few of them held back in their heats, particularly the Ukrainian who broke the world record.
“In the final I gave it everything I had and it hurt like hell but it was good to do a low 1.09 – swimming your best race in the main event is really all you can ask for.
“Now I can go back and analyse my race and granted I gave it 110 per cent, I think I can go back to the drawing board and that excites me because I’m still confident I can drop another couple of seconds over the next two or three years.”
McClure also competed in the S11 50m and 100m freestyle but failed to qualify for the final in either.
He said Rio compared favourably to his previous Paralympic tilts in London, Beijing and Athens and that he had enjoyed the responsibility that came with being a senior member of the Australian swim team.
“There has been a real changing of the guard these games compared to London where the average athlete age was low to mid 20s,” McClure said.
“This time around we had about 10 swimmers between 15 and 17 so we were a very young team and I was one of the veterans.
“A few of the swimmers came to me for advice which was great. I just tried to remind them to stay grounded and prepare as if it was just another local swimming competition.”
McClure will now enjoy a short holiday before diving back into training for next year’s World Championships.
He is also planning a double Rottnest Island crossing in support of Alzheimer’s Australia before the end of the year.