Belarusian Boki in pole position to become most decorated swimmer

Dutch and Hungarian swimmers are also in line to double up on golds for their countries after going fastest in the heats at the swimming Euros in Funchal, Portugal. 07 May 2016
Ihar Boki competes at the 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships in Glasgow, Great Britain.

Ihar Boki competes at the 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships in Glasgow, Great Britain.

ⒸLuc Percival Photography

“I swam slowly to save my energy for the evening, so that I can give all that I have to the finals.”

Belarusian Ihar Boki is the firm favourite to leave the 2016 IPC Swimming European Open Championships as the most decorated swimmer after winning his men’s 200m individual medley SM13 heat on the final day of competition (7 May) in Funchal, Portugal.

The five-time Paralympic champion has stepped onto the top of the podium five times so far this week, as well as securing one bronze.

Also the world champion and defending European title holder in the 200m individual medley, the 21-year-old won the heats in 2:08.59 to give himself the best possible chance of winning his latest medal.

Azerbaijan’s Worlds bronze medallist Dzmitry Salei (2:14.75) and silver medallist Iaroslav Denysenko (2:15.26) were second and third respectively.

Croatia’s European silver medallist Kristjian Vincetic (4:29.24) will start one of the most hotly anticipated finals of the day as the fastest qualifier.

“It was easy,” Vincetic said. “It was a good race for the morning. I’m not expecting anything special because these guys are pretty prepared but it will be a good race.”

The men’s 400m freestyle S9 will also feature Italy’s defending champion Federico Morlacchi (4:30.06) going for his fifth gold in second.

Home swimmer David Grachat (4:32.99) will be aiming to impress and win his second medal.

“I swam slowly to save my energy for the evening, so that I can give all that I have to the finals,” Grachat said.

Uzbekistan’s Shokhsanamkhon Toshpulatova (2:32.82) set her tenth Asian record of the week to qualify fastest in the women’s 200m individual medley SM13. Russia’s European champion Darya Stukalova (2:35.64) was second ahead of Ukraine’s Anna Stetsenko (2:36.25).

Fourteen-year-old Hungarian Zsofia Konkoly (5:01.85) led the women’s 400m freestyle S9 heats ahead of British European champion Stephanie Millward (5:06.09) and Spain’s Nuria Marques Soto. Soto is looking for her third gold and sixth medal overall to end her Championships.

A second Hungarian, European bronze medallist Bianka Pap (1:11.60), went quickest in the women’s 100m backstroke S10. Canada’s Aurelie Rivard (1:11.94) is going for her second Open gold as the second fastest.

Two Dutch swimmers will go for their latest medals in Saturday’s concluding session.

Liesette Bruinsma (1:09.81) has had a fantastic major international debut at the age of 15 with three gold medals, and went quickest in the women’s 100m freestyle S11 heat once again.

“I touched the lane a little bit but it was good for the morning,” Bruinsma said. “I hope to go a little bit faster!”

Sweden’s Maja Reichard (1:11.45) was second ahead of Italian Paralympic and European champion Cecilia Camellini (1:12.93).

European champion Marc Evers (2:12.87) will defend his men’s 200m individual medley SM14 title as the fastest qualifier.

“For the heats it was a good swim and it was smooth,” Evers said. “The swim felt easy, much better than I expected.

European silver medallist Kardo Ploomipuu (1:03.48) will be aiming to win Estonia’s first medal having qualified fastest in the men’s 100m backstroke S10.

“It was tough for the morning,” Ploomipuu said. “And I lost my nose clip! The time is ok for the morning.”

Ukraine’s Denis Dubrov (1:04.39) and Hungary’s Tamas Gyorgy Deutsch (1:04.99) were second and third respectively. Brazilian world champion Andre Brasil (1:05.00) also heads through to the final.

“It’s the last day and all the swimmers are mentally stuffed, they are tired and are probably trying to make the heats easy,” Brasil said. “We’ll see what happens in the final. It will probably be close for the guys who fight for gold.”

Spain’s Teresa Perales (37.48) placed herself in pole position to take her fourth gold medal of the Championships in the women’s 50m freestyle S5. Brazil’s Joanna Maria Silva (38.81) and the Czech Republic’s Bela Trebinova (40.06) were second and third fastest respectively.

Three Russian swimmers head into the finals as the fastest qualifier.

Olesia Vladykina (32.37) leads the most decorated female athlete from the 2014 edition, Great Britain’s Stephanie Slater (32.81) into the women’s 50m freestyle S8 final. Ukraine’s Kateryna Istomina (32.88) was third.

Paralympic, world and European champion Denis Tarasov (27.13) is aiming to reach the top of his fifth podium as the fastest qualifier from the men’s 50m freestyle S8 heat. Great Britain’s Josef Craig (27.68) and Tarasov’s teammate Maxim Borodaev (28.64) were second and third respectively.

World champion Sergey Sukharev (28.89) leads Ukraine’s European title holder Yevheniy Bohodayko into the final of the men’s 50m freestyle S7 for their last face-off of the Championships. Bohodayko has three golds compared to Sukharev’s two.

Germany’s Denise Grahl (34.62) will try and prevent Great Britain’s European champion Susannah Rodgers (36.47) from achieving a perfect win record at Funchal 2016 in the women’s 50m freestyle S7. Rodgers has taken three golds this week and led Estonia’s Brenda Tilk (37.93) into the final in third.

Rodgers said: “I took that very easy, so it was a nice comfortable morning swim. Hopefully more to come tonight!”

France’s David Smetanine (40.79) went quickest in the men’s 50m freestyle S4.

Great Britain’s Bethany Firth (2:25.88) led the women’s 200m individual medley SM14.

“The race was good, I’m happy to be in the final,” Firth said. “It’s a good morning swim I was working on my strokes, taking it nice and relaxed and feeling the water. I would like to go faster this evening.”

Russia’s world and European champion Valeriia Shabalina (2:26.32) was second quickest ahead of Firth’s teammate Jessica-Jane Applegate (2:31.52).

Ukraine’s Oksana Khrul (36.43) is also hoping for her third gold medal of the Championships and led the women’s 50m butterfly S6 heat. Two newcomers, Great Britain’s Eleanor Robinson (36.73) and Ireland’s Nicole Turner (38.94), head through second and third fastest respectively after a great week on their Europeans debuts.

Colombia’s Nelson Crispin (33.21) went quickest in the men’s 50m butterfly S6 ahead of Russia’s Sergey Klyaghin (33.59) and Ukraine’s Iaroslav Semenenko (34.49).

South Africa’s Paralympic bronze medallist Hendri Herbst (1:00.34) led Brazil’s Matheus Sousa (1:01.16) and Belarusian Hryhory Zudzilau (1:02.56) in the men’s 100m freestyle S11.

“It was a good solid morning swim so hopefully I can go a bit faster this afternoon,” Herbst said “It’s pretty close to my personal best so for a morning swim it’s very good.”

Vietnam’s Thanh Tung Vo (34.80) touched in quickest in the men’s 50m freestyle S5. Spain’s European champion Sebastian Rodriguez (35.52) and Russia’s Dmitrii Chernaev (36.27) follow him into the final in second and third respectively.

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