The USA’s Bradley Snyder and Ukraine’s Anna Stetsenko reached new heights at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, tearing down decades-old swimming world records.
Snyder breaking the 30-year-old mark in the men’s 100m freestyle S11 and Stetsenko surpassing the 20-year-old mark in the women’s 50m freestyle S13 enters at No. 18 in the International Paralympic Committee’s Top 50 Moments of 2016.
First on the turn, when Snyder touched in at 56.15 seconds to take his third Paralympic gold in Rio, he also lowered compatriot John Morgan’s world record from 1986.
Snyder had come within 0.11 seconds of breaking it the previous year on the way to the world title, and left even more determined.
“It is something that I have been trying very hard to do during the last three years. And to break that record was a remarkable experience,” Snyder said.
“I know I will not be the world record holder for long. There are many athletes and we inspire each other to push each other even harder.
“To push the metres forward and what blind people think they are capable of is something I take a lot of pride in.”
Former US Navy lieutenant Snyder also claimed golds in the men’s 50m and 400m freestyle S11.
Stetsenko registered 27.34 in the women’s 50m freestyle S13, claiming the world record set at Atlanta 1996.
Like Snyder, the 24-year-old cited the 2015 World Championships in Glasgow, Great Britain, as the turning point when she identified she could potentially claim the mark.
“When I analysed my performance there, I realised that I could do even better and started to prepare for the Paralympics,” Stetsenko said.
“I can’t say that I was really surprised, because I trained a lot for it. I felt a delight, happiness and lots of positive emotions which overwhelmed me that moment.”
Stetsenko, who also claimed titles in the 100m freestyle and 100m backstroke S13, has already begun to set goals for the future, which include the 2017 World Para Swimming Championships in Mexico City.
“Yeah, it was a rather good performance, but still I have a lot to do,” she said. “I believe I could show better results.”
To find out more about the IPC’s Top 50 Moments of 2016, visit the dedicated page on the IPC’s website.