Italy’s Francesco Bocciardo set the tone on the opening day of the Dublin 2018 World Para Swimming Allianz European Championships when he broke the world record in the very first final of the competition.
Three other world records fell on Monday (13 August) at Ireland’s National Aquatic Centre with Ukrainians and Italians topping the podium four times each.
“This is really emotional to me. I didn’t expect to come here and break my own world record,” said Bocciardo after winning the men’s 200m freestyle S5 (2:23.65).
“I was very nervous before the race, but from the second lap I started to increase my speed to try to take the first place. It was very difficult but I’m very happy. I hope this European Championships will bring me other good experiences.”
It was an Italian one-two with Antonio Fantin finishing second and Spain’s Antoni Ponce Bertran third.
Italy also took gold in the men’s 100m breaststroke SB9, the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay 34 points and in the women’s 200m individual medley SM8 with an emotional Xenia Palazzo.
“I can barely speak. After the morning session I expected a bronze, maybe a silver, but instead I got gold. My dream has finally come true,” said Palazzo.
The Italians had already won three finals when Ukraine took their first gold. It came in a one-two victory in the women’s 50m freestyle S6 immediately followed by another Ukrainian one-two in the men’s 400m freestyle S12.
Only 0.01 separated gold and silver medallists in the women’s 50m freestyle S6. Yelyzaveta Mereshko clocked 32.78 to set a new world record leaving the previous record holder Viktoriia Savtsova in second (32.79) and Great Britain’s Eleanor Robinson in third.
Iaroslav Denysenko dominated the men’s 400m freestyle S12 (4:08.00) followed by country-mate Danylo Chufarov and Netherlands’ Rogier Dorsman.
It was Ukrainian gold and silver again in the men’s 50m butterfly S7 final with Yevheniy Bohodayko (29.95) first and Andrii Trusov. Germany’s Tobias Pollap finished third.
The final gold of the day for Ukraine came in the women’s 50m freestyle S11. Maryna Piddubna set a new world record (30.22) leaving previous record holder Liesette Bruinsma from the Netherlands in second. Sweden’s Maja Reichard took bronze.
“I really didn’t expect this. I still don’t believe that I broke the world record. I have four more events ahead and I will try to win gold again,” said Piddubna.
But the Dutch still had a lot to celebrate on Monday. It was gold, silver and a new world record in the women’s 100m breaststroke SB9. Chantalle Zijderveld finished first (1:12.42) with Lisa Kruger second and Belarus’ Aliaksandra Svadkouskaya third.
“I was super excited, I was confident and I saw that I was ahead of Lisa. So when I touched the wall and I saw that I had won and broken my own world record was amazing. I am happy to hear the Dutch national anthem again,” said Zijderveld.
“We train together and we help each other to be the best. It is really difficult to compete against Chantalle but I’m happy and looking forward to win in my next race,” said Kruger.
Thijs van Hofweegen gave the Dutch the second gold of the day in the men’s 50m freestyle S6.
Great Britain also celebrated two gold medals, both in S14 races. Scott Quin won the men’s 100m freestyle in a nail-biting finish with 0.67 separating the three medallists.
Quin clocked 1:07.21 ahead of fellow Briton Conner Morrison and Ukraine’s Vasyl Krainyk.
In the following race, 2018 World Series winner Louise Fiddes took gold in the women’s 100m freestyle (1:14.17) with silver to Spain’s Michelle Alonso Morales and bronze to Great Britain’s Rio 2016 winner Bethany Firth.
“It’s absolutely insane, I never thought it would happen. There were such incredible athletes racing against me, like Bethany Firth and Alonso. It’s just can’t believe it,” Fiddes said.
Greece, Belarus, Germany and Israel also celebrated two victories on day one.
Inbal Pezaro gave Israel its first gold in the Euros since Berlin 2011 in the women’s 200m freestyle S5. Ami Omer Dadaon made it two with a victory in the men’s 100m freestyle S4.
Dimosthenis Michalentzakis in the men’s 200m individual medley SM8 and Aristeidis Makrodimitris in the men’s 50m backstroke S2 took golds for the Greeks.
Rio 2016’s most successful swimmer Ihar Boki gave Belarus its first gold in Dublin in the men’s 100m butterfly S13. Hryhory Zudzilau won the men’s 50m freestyle S11.
German victories came with Naomi Maike Schnittger in the women’s 400m freestyle S12 and Denise Grahl in the women’s 50m butterfly S7.
The European Championships continue on Tuesday (14 August) with 22 finals in Dublin.
Full results and a complete schedule can be found on the Dublin 2018 website.
You can watch day two live on World Para Swimming website’s and Facebook page.