The Dublin 2018 World Para Swimming Allianz European Championships witnessed 22 new world records and saw Ukraine beat the 100-medal mark. But those seven days in August will be best remember by 1:23.29 that made the home crowd go wild.
It was when Ellen Keane gave Ireland its long-awaited gold medal on the last day of the competition, in the women’s 100m breaststroke SB8 – a result that put her among the nominees to best athlete of the year in her country.
“Having my parents and my boyfriend watching it was amazing. I just have to thank all the fans for their support, and also my coach and our team,” Keane said after the race.
Seven in seven
Dublin also saw Belarus’ Ihar Boki winning seven gold medals in seven days – including a world record in the men’s 100m freestyle S13.
The 24-year looked like a veteran among so many teenage talents in the Irish capital. Fifteen-year-old Nora Meister won Switzerland’s first gold medal at the Euros and then followed it up with a second.
Great Britain’s Maisie Summers-Newton, France’s Ugo Didier and Netherlands’ Liesette Bruinsma were other teenagers who put amazing performances at the National Aquatic Centre.
Bruinsma not only bagged four golds and a silver in individual events but she also smashed three world records in Dublin – including an eight-year-old one in the women’s 400m freestyle S11.
“I still can’t believe that I made it, it’s crazy. I knew I was going fast, I was feeling confident but I couldn’t imagine that I would break the world record,” Bruinsma said.
There also were two rare gold-medal ties in Dublin. On day two, Czech Republic’s Arnost Petracek and Slovenia’s Darko Duric clocked the exact same time in the men’s 50m freestyle S4 (40.40)
The next day it happened in the women’s 50m freestyle S12 with Great Britain’s Hannah Russell and Germany’s Elena Krawzow both finishing in 27.94.
“I had no idea. I left the pool and I thought Hannah was the winner. I was getting my things back after the race when my coaches came running and told me I had also taken first place. I couldn’t believe them, I am so happy,” said Krawzow.
For Russell, it was a special moment as she had the chance to compete in front of her Irish grandparents for the first time since the London 2012 Paralympics
Ukraine and Italy top the table
Ukrainian swimmers took an average of 15 medals every day and for the first time since the 2011 Euros a country finished the competition with more than one hundred medals. Guess who did it seven years earlier in Berlin? Ukraine.
This time the country took one more medal than in 2011 (106 to 105) with a total 33 gold, 44 silver and 29 bronze.
Italy came second with 72 medals but more impressive than that is the fact that the number was more than twice what Italian swimmers had achieved at the Funchal 2016 Euros.
Simone Barlaam was one of the Italian athletes who broke world records in Dublin. In his case, the last of the 22 world marks established in Ireland, in the men’s 50m freestyle S9 – a record standing since London 2012.
“I’ve been trying to break this record for a long time and I’ve finally made it,” said Barlaam.