Britain and Ukraine Dominate 1st Day at Swimming Euros03.07.2011
Sweden’s world-record holder Anders Olsson claimed the first gold medal of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Swimming European Championships with a dominant performance in the Men’s 400m Freestyle S6.
The 45-year-old led from start to finish to power home in 4:58.17. Silver went to Ukraine’s Yevheniy Bohodayko in 5:09.72 with bronze going to Ireland’s Darragh McDonald in 5:15.02.
In total 25 gold medals were contested on day one of the competition in Berlin, Germany. Five world and three European records were broken.
It was a golden day for Great Britain who picked up five gold medals starting in the second final of the day, the Women’s 400m Freestyle S6. Double Paralympic champion Eleanor Simmonds, 16, who has had to balance schools exams with training for this event, stormed to victory in a new world record time of 5:25.20, two seconds inside her previous best. Her Dutch rival Mirjam de Koning-Peper (5:42.42) took silver while Simmonds’s teammate Natalie Jones (5:58.66) took bronze.
It was Simmonds’s teammate Jonathan Fox though who was the star performer on the first day. The 20 year old broke the 400m Freestyle S7 world record during the morning heats with a time of 4:41.16. In the final he nearly broke it again, but with a time of 4:47.33 was just outside his new best. It was enough to win gold ahead of Croatia’s world champion Mihovil Spanja (4:51.74) in silver and Ukraine’s Marian Kvasnytsia (5:07.20) bronze.
Another record breaking Brit was Susannah Rodgers, who set a new European best time of 5:22.61 in the Women’s 400m Freestyle S7. In winning gold she pushed the previous European record holder Germany’s Kirsten Bruhn into silver (5:27.06) and Ukraine’s Ani Palian (5:27.58) into bronze.
Great Britain’s fourth gold of the day was won by Rhiannon Henry in the Women’s 200m Individual Medley. Her time of 2:33.92 was sufficient to see off Ukraine’s Iryna Balahova (2:45.17) and Spain’s Marta Maria Gomez Battelli (2:47.47) into silver and bronze places.
Gold number five for the host nation of London 2012 was won by Heather Frederiksen (1:15.90) in the Women’s 100m Backstroke S8. Silver went to Norway’s Mariann Vestbostad (1:21.18) and bronze Russia’s Olesya Vladykina (1:21.92).
The Men’s 200m Individual Medley SM13 witnessed a new world record through Belarusian Ihar Boki. His time of 2:10.75 took just over one second off the previous record set at the 2009 European Championships in Iceland. It was a Belarusian one, two with Boki’s teammate Dzmitry Salei (2:12.10) securing silver. Bronze went to the previous world record holder Oleksii Fedyna (2:15.07) of Ukraine.
Ukraine enjoyed great success in the Women’s 50m Freestyle S2 though claiming all three medals. The winner was Ganna Ielisavetska in a world record time of 1:07.15, while Darya Kopayeva (1:16.00) was second. Third was Iryna Sotska (1:22.84).
Ielisavetska’s teammate, Olga Sviderska, also set a new world record in the Women’s 50m Freestyle. Her time of 55.76 took over a second off the previous best set at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games. Ukraine also took silver through Olena Istomina (1:02.55) and Fran Williamson (1:06.79) secured bronze for Great Britain.
Gold in the Men’s 200m Individual Medley SM12 was won by Ukraine’s Maksym Veraksa, a man widely regarded as the world’s fastest para-swimmer. His time of 2:13.01 was ahead of the Russian duo of Alexandr Nevolin-Svetov (2:13.88) and Sergey Punko (2:15.15) in silver and bronze respectively.
Not to be outdone, the world’s fastest female swimmer Oxana Savchenko of Russia also picked up gold in the Women’s 200 Individual Medley SM12. Her time of 2:32.57 was enough to finish before Poland’s Joanna Mendak (2:35.72) in silver and Spain’s Amaya Alonso (2:40.42) in bronze.
The Men’s 50m Freestyle S1 saw Israel claim their first gold medal of the Championships through Itzhak Mamistvalov (1:08.66). Silver went to Greece’s Christos Tampaxis (1:25.48) and bronze Portugal’s Joao Martins (1:37.18).
In a thrilling race the Czech Republic scooped gold and silver in the Men’s 50m Backstroke. Arnost Petracek (47.95) edged out his teammate Jan Povysil (48.80), while bronze went to European record holder, David Smetanine (49.24) of France.
A vocal Dutch support in the Berlin crowd was rewarded with a gold medal in the 11th final. Lisette Teunissen (50.81) led all the way to win the Women’s 50m Backstroke S4 ahead of Sweden’s Jennie Ekstrom (1:04.25) and Poland’s Karolina Hamer (1:06.47) who took silver and bronze respectively.
After breaking the European record in the morning heats, Russia’s Dmitry Kokarev (1:01.21) was victorious in the Men’s 50m Freestyle S2. Silver went to Greece’s Aristeidis Makrodimitris (1:03.65) and bronze Great Britain’s James Anderson (1:06.62).
Turkey secured their first ever gold medal at a European Championships in the Men’s 50m Butterfly S5. Beytullah Eroglu (41.49) won a breathtaking race ahead of the British duo of Andrew Mullen (42.69) and Anthony Stephens (43.68).
Norwegian world champion, Sarah Louise Rung (42.27), added a European title to her resume in the Women’s 50m Butterfly S5 delivering her country’s first gold. Silver went to Spain’s Teresa Perales (44.99) and bronze Belarus’s Natalia Shavel (47.93).
Paralympic gold medalist and world record holder Dmytro Vynohradets (44.59) secured Ukraine’s third gold of the day winning the Men’s 50m. Silver went to Russia’s Andrey Meshcheryakov (46.36) and bronze Greece’s Ioannis Kostakis (48.04).
The Men’s 100m Freestyle S9 was a closely fought race throughout and finished with a first gold medal for Spain. Jose Antonio Mari Alcaraz (56.37) set a new European record to beat the Hungarian duo of Tamas Sors (57.14) and Tamas Toth (57.31) into silver and bronze.
After waiting 18 races for a first gold medal, a second gold was duly won by Spain in the next race with Sarai Gascon (1:03.53) leading throughout the Women’s 100m Freestyle S9. Silver and bronze went to the British duo of Stephanie Millward (1:04.30) and Louise Watkin (1:04.70).
Paralympic and world champion Konstantin Lisenkov of Russia was on course to break his own world record at the halfway point of the Men’s 100m Backstroke S8, but faded in the last 10m. He still finished with gold recording a time of 1:06.51 pushing teammate Denis Tarasov (1:07.87) into silver and Oliver Hynd (1:07.95) bronze.
Ukraine took gold and silver in the Men’s 100m Backstroke S11. Vicktor Smyrnov (1:09.24) retained his European title ahead of teammate Dmytro Zalevskyy (1:10.92). Russia’s Rustam Nurmukhametov (1:14.39) took bronze.
The loudest cheer of the day was reserved for 23rd race when Daniela Schulte (1:21.60) delivered host nation Germany’s first gold medal of the Championships. The 29 year old, who celebrated her birthday last week, held off world record holder Cecilia Camellini (1:22.03) to secure first place in a thrilling race which nearly lifted the roof off the Euroasportpark. France’s Stephanie Douard (1:29.30) took bronze.
Spain made it a hat-trick of gold medals in the penultimate race of the first day, the Men’s 100m Freestyle S10. David Levecq (54.73) finished ahead of Great Britain’s Robert Welbourn (55.07) and Russia’s Dmitry Grigorev (55.31) who took silver and bronze respectively.
After winning two bronze medals in the previous 24 races, France took gold in the final race, the Women’s 100m Freestyle S10, through Elodie Lorandi (1:01.53) in a new European record time. Silver was won by Spain’s Esther Morales (1:04.31) and bronze Katarzyna Pawlik (1:04.35).
Tomorrow (4 July) will see heats for 18 events take place during the morning session starting at 09:00, before 25 medal events are contested in the evening session from 16:00.