Crispin and Vargas shine as World Series concludes in Mexico

Colombian duo clinches three victories each while host nation tops medals table with Australia and USA taking the other gold medals in Tijuana 10 Oct 2022
Tijuana saw 23 podium events during four days of competition as Mexico hosted a Para Swimming World Series for the first time.
Tijuana saw 23 podium events during four days of competition as Mexico hosted a Para Swimming World Series for the first time.
ⒸNPC Colombia
By Victor Pereira | For World Para Swimming

The World Para Swimming 2022 season had a stunning closure in Tijuana with high-level performances in the dozen multi-class events during the Mexico 2022 Citi Para Swimming World Series held from 6 to 9 October (Thursday to Sunday).

Colombia took home the biggest number of gold medals among the guest nations, one less than hosts Mexico, with Nelson Crispin (S6) emerging the most prominent face on the podium at the Centro de Alto Rendimiento (CAR).

Crispin, who grabbed three gold and three silver medals, reinforced his favouritism by winning the men’s 200m medley, the same event in which he became a Paralympic champion at Tokyo 2020. He also won the 50m and 100m freestyle races.

“I feel very content and happy. I hope to continue improving and be well so that in the next tournament we will do much better,” said Crispin who took home silver medals from three other events (men’s 50m butterfly, 100m breaststroke, and 100m backstroke).

Golden treble for Vargas

Crispin’s countrywoman swimmer Sara Vargas Blanco (S6) was equally impresssive topping the podium three times, one of them in the women’s 100m freestyle – the same race she won gold at the Madeira 2022 World Championships in June. 

The 16-year-old Colombian swimmer also was the fastest to touch the wall in the women’s 50m freestyle and 50m butterfly events.

“This World Series taught me many things, I’ve done some changes in my technique and it went very well, thank to God,” celebrated Vargas who ended her participation in the Mexico 2022 Citi World Series winning a silver medal in the 100m backstroke.

Colombia’s National Anthem was played two more times at the CAR as two-time Paralympic champion Carlos Serrano Zarate (S7) triumphed in the men’s 100m breaststroke and 50m butterfly. Serrano also grabbed three silver medals (men’s 200m medley, and 50m and 100m freestyle) and a bronze (100m backstroke).

Hosts end on top

Mexico were one gold medal better than Colombia, led by experienced swimmers Jesus Hernandez Hernandez and Arnulfo Castorena, who won one event each in Tijuana.

Castorena (S2) finished first in the men’s 50m breaststroke while Hernandez (S3) was the winner in the men’s 150m medley event, the same events in which they became Paralympic champions at Tokyo 2020.

“I’m very happy and satisfied with my performance. Now the most important thing is to keep working hard for what comes next, the World Championships [Manchester 2023],” Castorena said.

But it was a young swimmer who achieved more podiums than any other Mexican athlete in the World Series. Eighteen-year-old Angel de Jesus Camacho (S4) took gold in the men’s 50m backstroke and 200m freestyle, as well as a silver in the men’s 150m medley.

The home crowd also saw a triple family podium for Mexico in the men’s 400m freestyle thank to the efforts of the Gutierrez Bermudez brothers. Juan Jose (S6) took the gold, followed by his youngest brother Jesus Alberto (S6), while the eldest brother Raul (S6) picked the bronze medal.

Powerful USA 

Neighbours USA were represented on the top of the podium by Lawrence Sapp (S14) and Christie Raleigh-Crossley (S9) who bagged two golds each in the 100m butterfly and 100m backstroke, respectively, in the men’s and women’s events.

Coming from the other side of the Pacific Ocean, Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 winner Lakeisha Patterson kept her throne in the women’s 400m freestyle and gave Australia another victory in the 200m medley. 

The Mexico 2022 Citi World Series wrapped the season following other five stops during the year. Aberdeen, Great Britain kicked off the 2022 Series in February, the same month of the Australian leg in Melbourne. The season continued in Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy in March followed by Berlin, Germany and Indianapolis, USA in April.

The Citi Para Swimming World Series will return in 2023 with nine stops across four continents from February to November. More information can be found here.