Citi World Series: World records galore as Great Britain top medal tally in Berlin

Sixteen new global marks were set during the four-day races; Brazil and Canada swimmers impress too completing top 3 in medals table at Schwimm-und Sprunghalle im Europa Sportpark (SSE) 03 Jun 2024
A swimmer gestures after his race
British swimmer William Ellard produced a stunning performance in men's 100m freestyle S14 races - he touched the wall in 51.28 seconds in the heats and then improved it by 21 hundredths in the final (51.07s) .
Ⓒ Tilo Wiedensohler/IDM Berlin
By Victor Pereira | For World Para Swimming

The Citi Para Swimming World Series Berlin 2024 provided a glimpse of the high-performance level achieved by Para swimmers worldwide on the eve of the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.

During four days of multi-class races, the crowd at Schwimm-und Sprunghalle im Europa Sportpark (SSE) in Berlin, Germany witnessed battles not only for medals but especially against the clock in order to achieve the best times in each event and class.

Paralympic champions Alice Tai and Maisie Summers-Newton, alongside Paralympic medallist Stephen Clegg and world champion William Ellard, each secured two gold medals, spearheading the British team to the top of the medals table with a total of eight gold, four silver, and seven bronze.

Tai (S8) triumphed in the women’s 50m and 100m butterfly, earning a silver in the 50m backstroke and a bronze in the 100m backstroke, while Clegg (S12) won in the men’s 50m butterfly and 100m backstroke.

British Trio

Ellard (S14) and Summers-Newton (S6), beside the medals, also smashed world records in their events.

Ellard triumphed in the men’s 50m and 100m freestyle, in which he delivered a stunning performance. He touched the wall in 51.28 seconds in the heats and then improved by 21 hundredths in the final to set a new mark of 51.07 seconds in the S14 class.

The British swimmer also grabbed three bronze medals by finishing third in the men’s 200m and 400m freestyle in addition to the 100m butterfly event.

Summers-Newton, in her turn, won in the women’s 400m freestyle and took home a gold medal in the 200m medley event with a world record time of 2:55.07, new mark in the SM6 class. She also claimed a silver in the 100m breaststroke.

Great Britain also had a third record-breaking performance with Faye Rogers swimming in 2:26.39 in the women’s 200m butterfly for a new world record in the S10 class.

“I was completely shocked that I was that fast. To be honest, we’re all in the middle of a quite hard training phase as well and no one has rested, so I have no idea how everyone’s to make so quickly,” said Rogers who left Berlin with a silver medal in the 100m butterfly event.

Brazilian Power

Brazil closely followed Great Britain on the medals tally of Berlin 2024 with six gold, five silver, and six bronze medals.

Three-time Paralympic champion Maria Carolina Santiago (S12) single-handedly secured half of Brazil's gold medals by triumphing in the women’s 100m breaststroke, 100m freestyle, and 50m freestyle, where she also broke the world record for the S12 class with a time of 26.61 seconds. Santiago also took home a silver in the 50m butterfly and a bronze medal in the 50m breaststroke.

“We’ve chosen this competition as part of our preparation for Paris, so it was very important to come here and have a performance with our best swimming, so I’m really happy that it happened, and it means we’re on the right way,” said Santiago.

Two-time Paralympic champion Gabriel dos Santos Araujo (S2) also bagged a gold medal after a record-breaking performance in the men’s 50m butterfly as he finished in a time of 52.37 seconds.

Talisson Glock and Mariana Ribeiro were the other Brazilian swimmers to get to the top of the podium. Ribeiro (S9) won in the women’s 100m backstroke while Glock (SM6) triumphed in the men’s 200m medley and finished second in the 400m freestyle event, adding a silver medal to the Brazilian collection.

Canada completed the top 3 of nations in the general ranking with two gold, a silver, and three bronze medals. Spain had almost the same numbers but with a bronze medal less.

Aurelie Rivard and Tess Routliffe were the golden girls for Canada with Rivard (S10) the winner in the women’s 200m freestyle. She also finished third in the 50m freestyle.

Routliffe (S7) meanwhile claimed the gold medal in the women’s 50m breaststroke with a world record time of 40.68 seconds in SB7 class. She also grabbed a bronze in the 100m breaststroke and a silver in the 200m medley.

Argentina (2), Spain (2), Israel (1), Czech Republic (1), Mexico (1), and Germany (1) were the other golden nations.

The full results of the Citi Para Swimming World Series Berlin 2024 can be found here. 

World Record Galore

Overall, it was 16 new best global marks were set during the four days of races at the Schwimm-und Sprunghalle im Europa Sportpark (SSE).

Despite having grabbed only one gold medal, the hosts saw the local stars being responsible for four new world records.

Paralympic champion Taliso Engel set two of them in the SB13 class. First in the 50m breaststroke, swimming in a time of 28.54, and, later, in the 200m breaststroke by clocking in 2:23.59.

The men’s 50m breaststroke event was a show in itself. Besides Engel's new world record, there were other two new world records being set in the same race with two Colombian swimmers.

Carlos Serrano Zarate set 31.96 seconds as the new mark in the SB7 class and Nelson Crispin Corzo clocked in 34.95 to be the new mark in the SB6 class. Corzo also set 1:17.59 as the new world record in the men’s 100m breaststroke SB6.

Gina Bottcher was the only German swimmer to reach the top of the podium winning in the women’s 150m medley, breaking the world record twice in the 200m medley. First, in the heats, she clocked 3:57.62 only to improve it in the final when Bottcher dropped more than 2 seconds to set 3:55.07 as the new mark in the SM4 class.

Her teammate, Josia Topf, had a very similar performance in the men’s races. Topf smashed the world record of the SM3 class in the heats with a time of 4.09.18 and lowered his time in almost four seconds swimming in 4.05.19 to set a new world record.

David Kratochvil grabbed the only gold medal for Czech Republic winning the men’s 50m backstroke with two record-breaking performances. In the heats, Kratochvil clocked 30.98 seconds and, in the final, dropped 30 hundredths to set 30.68 as the new world record in the S11 class.

Kratochvil also swam to a second world record in the 200m backstroke when he clocked 2:25.59. 

Italy’s Federico Bicelli completed the list of world record breakers as he set 2:11.30 as the new world record in the men’s 200m freestyle S7.

Time to breathe  

After Berlin, the Citi Para Swimming World Series goes to Limoges, France as the last meet before Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, starting on Friday (7 June).

After Paris 2024, the meets will resume in November with the second American meet in Guadalajara, Mexico and Cairo, Egypt in December.