Brazilian brilliance delights home crowd in Sao Paulo

National records tumble on opening day of World Series 27 Apr 2018
one male swimmer kissing another on the cheek in celebration

Brazil celebrated a number of new national records on the opening day in Sao Paulo

ⒸMarco Antonio Teixeira/MPIX/CPB
By Euan Marshall | For the IPC

The World Para Swimming World Series in Sao Paulo got underway on Thursday morning, with an opening day full of medals, national records and plenty of excitement from the home crowd.

As expected, hosts Brazil dominated, winning 19 of the 24 medals up for grabs on Thursday. Of the visiting nations, Chile got off to the best start, with Alberto Abarza taking gold in the Men’s 200m freestyle and Kiara Soto winning silver in the Women’s 100m butterfly.

The opening day of events gathered impressive crowds, with schoolchildren from all over Sao Paulo visiting the Brazilian Paralympic Center to get a taste of competitive Paralympic sport.

Brazil's highlight came in the shape of S6 swimmer Talisson Glock, who twice broke the Brazilian record in the 50m butterfly – once in the morning’s heats, and then again in the final. “I'm delighted,” Glock said. “It’s not even one of my principal events and I managed to break the national record."

Glock is a two-time Paralympic medallist, having won a silver and bronze at the Rio 2016 games. He will be back in action on Friday, competing in the 100m backstroke and 200m individual medley events.

Thursday’s races set the bar high for the rest of the World Series, particularly the men’s 100m butterfly, in which two Brazilian records were broken in the S8 and S9 classifications. S8 swimmer Gabriel Cristiano was visibly ecstatic at the end of the final, securing the national record with a time of 1:04.46.

"I broke my personal best twice today, this final was perfect," Cristiano said. “We’re on the right track, our team is really well disciplined and I think congratulations are in order."

Elsewhere, S9 athlete Camille Rodrigues ended up with bronze in the Women’s 400m freestyle, after being unable to improve on her strong showing in the morning’s heats. “I gave it my best, but unfortunately my time was a little higher this afternoon,” explained Rodrigues. “Now, we need to keep working hard, I have the 100m backstroke tomorrow and I’m feeling confident.

Besides the 100m backstroke, Friday’s schedule also includes the 50m freestyle, 50m backstroke, as well as the 150m and 200m individual medley events. In the latter, all eyes will be on Argentina’s 25-year-old Daniela Gimenez, who makes her debut in this year’s competition.

The World Para Swimming World Series has returned for a second year after a successful inaugural edition in 2017. Athletes take part in a number of events across the season, hosted in Europe and the Americas, with the swimmers’ performances ranked on a points scale to determine the final champions.

Daniel Dias, Brazil’s most decorated Paralympian, came away with the 2017 overall men’s title, while Italy’s Monica Boggioni finished in first place among the women. This year’s Series is already underway with events having been held in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Indianapolis, USA, with Sao Paulo marking the third leg of the season-long tournament.

The competition is held at the Brazilian Paralympic Center, with free admission to both the morning and afternoon sessions.

The Sao Paulo edition will run until April 28, before the World Series heads back to Europe for meetings in Italy, Great Britain, and Germany.