Two teenagers became first-time European champions on another thrilling day (16 August) at the Dublin 2018 World Para Swimming Allianz European Championships. And both they could barely believe they had won gold.
“I didn’t think I had finished first. I was not expecting it,” said Switzerland’s 15-year-old Nora Meister, who took home gold in the women’s 100m backstroke S7 (1:23:50). “But now I want to go for more gold in my other events.”
Meister won by an impressive five seconds over Ukraine’s Anna Hontar and Sweden’s Nicola St Clair Maitland to collect Switzerland’s first gold of the Euros.
Sixteen-year-old Ugo Didier of France won the men’s 100m backstroke S9 (1:03.10) followed respectively by Netherlands’ Thijs van den End and Hungary’s Tamas Toth.
“I am so happy but I was nervous before the race. It was only this morning when I was the fastest in the heats that I thought I had a chance. I think my parents were watching it from France,” he said.
Croatia and Latvia also celebrated their first golds of the competition. Croat Dino Sinovcic took the opening title of the day in the men’s 100m backstroke S6 (1:16.08), while Latvia’s first win came from Jurijs Semjonovs in the men’s 100m backstroke S8 (1:09.45).
Ukraine continued their sensational form at Ireland’s National Aquatic Centre, winning another six titles to take their overall tally to 22 golds after just four days of competition.
Iaroslav Denysenko won their first of the day in the men’s 100m backstroke S12 (59.57), followed by Maryna Verbova in the women’s 150m individual medley SM4 (3:08.12)
Three Ukrainians then won their third titles in four days on Thursday; Viktor Smyrnov in the men’s 100m backstroke S11 (1:09.96), Maksym Krypak in the men’s 50m freestyle S10 (23.54) and Yevheniy Bohodayko in the men’s 100m backstroke S7 (1:12.52).
Kateryna Tkachuk took her first gold in the women’s 100m backstroke S11 (1:20.93).
It could have been seven Ukrainian golds if Germany’s Verena Schott (1:25.06) had not been 0.24 faster than Yelyzaveta Mereshko in the closest race of the day, the women’s 100m backstroke S6.
“It was an amazing race, I saw Mereshko close to me and I just wanted to swim faster and faster to finish first. I am having a lot of fun in Dublin,” said Schott.
Golden runs continue
Great Britain closed the gap to second-placed Italy in the medal standings with two more wins in the women’s events: Hannah Russell in the 100m backstroke S12 (1:08.16) and Alice Tai in the 100m backstroke S8 (1:08.86).
There were two Greek golds in men’s races. Aristeidis Makrodimitris in the 200m freestyle S2 (4:53.06) and Ioannis Kostakis in the 150m individual medley SM3 (3:36.61).
The seemingly unstoppable Ihar Boki of Belarus made it four golds in four races in the men’s 400m freestyle S13 (4:01.12).
Israel’s Ami Omer Dadaon won the men’s 150m individual medley SM4 (2:39.95).
Chantelle Zijderveld took gold for The Netherlands in the women’s 50m freestyle S10 (28.05) while Spain’s Nuria Marques Soto won the women’s 100m backstroke S9 (1:09.79).
There will be 21 medal events on Friday (17 August) with three days to go to the end of the European Championships.
Full results and a complete schedule can be found on the Dublin 2018 website.
You can watch day two live on the World Para Swimming website and Facebook page.