The world’s fastest male and female para-swimmers were in action on Wednesday at the 2011 International Paralympic Committee (IPC) European Swimming Championships, and both did not disappoint, storming to gold in their respective 50m Freestyle races.
The fastest male was up first in the ninth race of the night. World and Paralympic champion Maksym Veraska (23.71) dominated the Men’s 50m Freestyle S12 to secure his third gold of the Championships. In silver and bronze positions were Russia’s Alexandr Nevolin-Svetov (24.39) and Spain’s Omar Font (25.03).
In the very next race, the fastest female para-swimmer on the planet, Russia’s 20 year old Paralympic champion Oxana Savchenko (27.12), put clear water between herself and teammate Darya Stukalova (27.53) to claim her second gold. Surprisingly bronze went to Poland’s Joanna Mendak (28.30) who qualified for the final seventh fastest.
There were 21 medals up for grabs on Wednesday evening, a session that two world and one European record broken. In total 14 world and 12 European records have been broken in the four days of competition.
It has taken three races, and the winning of one silver and one bronze medal, but Croatia’s Mihovil Spanja (2:39.51) finally stood top of the podium tonight after winning gold in the first race of the night, the Men’s 200m Individual Medley SM7. The European record holder easily beat Ukraine’s Oleksandr Komarov (2:48.92) and Germany’s Tobias Pollap (2:49.57) into second and third places.
The Women’s 200m Individual Medley SM7 was a close race and was won by the 22 year old Russian Oxana Guseva (3:14.85). She just edged out Ukraine’s Ani Palian (3:15.11), who has already won one gold and bronze at this event. Hungary’s Dorottya Baka (3:40.81) took bronze.
Marc Evers (1:02.50) from the Netherlands, who has won one silver already in Berlin picked up gold in the Men’s 100m Backstroke S14
Britain’s Ben Procter (1:05.43), bronze medal winner in the 200m Freestyle S14 earlier this week, took silver. Hungary claimed a second consecutive bronze through Andras Szechenyi (1:06.27)
The Netherlands won their second successive gold when Marlou van der Kulk (1:09.96) picked up her second gold of the week in the Women’s 100m Backstroke S14. Britain’s Natalie Massey (1:11.49) fought a hard race for second place but lost out to Ireland’s Bethany Firth (1:11.43). The 15 year old put in a brilliant performance to secure silver in her first major Championships.
Hungary’s Tamas Toth claimed his second gold of the Championships with victory in the Men’s 50m Freestyle S9. His new European record time of 26:08, shaved 0.01 seconds off the previous record which was held by his teammate Tamas Sors. Spain’s Jose Antonio Mari Alcaraz (26.23) took silver and Ukraine’s Andriy Kalyna (26.51) the bronze.
European Record holder Sarai Gascon (29.28), secured her third and Spain’s 12th gold medal of the week with a win in the Women’s 50m Freestyle S9. Great Britain’s Louise Watkin (29.87) claimed her fifth medal of the Championships with silver. Bronze went to Ukraine’s Irina Grazhdanova (29.94).
Surprisingly it took seven races before Ukraine, who lead the medal table, picked up their first gold of the day. World and European record holder Oleksi Fedyna (23.99) finished ahead of Belarus’s Dzmitry Salei (24.21) in the Men’s 50m Freestyle S13, while Germany’s Daniel Simon (25.07) took bronze.
A second gold followed very quickly for Ukraine as Iryna Balashova (28.43) beat off stiff competition from Great Britain’s Rhiannon Henry (28.57) to win the Women’s 50m Freestyle S13. Third was Spain’s Begona Curero (30.15).
Maksym Veraksa made it thee gold medals in a row for Ukrainian with victory in the Men’s 50m Freestyle S12.
Spain’s Ricardo Ten (3:30.80) took his first medal of the Championships in the Men’s 200m Individual Medley SM5. Turkey claimed a shock third medal in four days when 15 year old Beytullah Eroglu (3:32.46), who had qualified for the final seventh fastest, took silver. Great Britain’s Ricardo Mullen (3:30.80) was the bronze medalist
Sarah Louise Rung (3:16.00) picked up her and Norway’s second gold of the week in the Women’s 200m Individual Medley SM5. Ukraine’s Natalia Prologaieva (3:19.07), who has scooped three golds this week, took silver while Spain’s Teresa Perales (3:44.59) was third.
World record holder Richard Oribie (1:24.96) of Spain took gold in the Men’s 100m Freestyle S4. France’s David Smetanine (1:27.25) secured his second silver medal and Czech Republic’s Jan Povysil (1:29.03) was bronze.
Ukraine’s Yevheniy Bohodayko (2:45.01) is totally unstoppable at the moment. He cemented his fourth gold of the Championships with an easy win in the Men’s 200m Individual Medley SM6. His teammate
Iaroslave Semenenko (2:51.76) took silver ahead of Israel’s Yoav Valinsky (3:05.99) in bronze.
It took 12 races of the fourth day for Great Britain to win their first gold medal. Two-time Paralympic champion Eleanor Simmonds not only picked up her second gold of the Championships but also smashed her second world record recording 3:08.94 in the Women’s 200m Individual Medley SM6. Silver went to her teammate Natalie Jones (3:11.44) while Mirjam de Koning Peper (3:17.80) of the Netherlands took bronze.
Inspired by the performance of his teammate in the previous race, Robert Welbourn (4:11.18) took gold in the Men’s 400m Freestyle S10 beating off a very strong challenge from Germany’s Lucas Ludwig (4:12.12). Third was Ukraine’s Maksym Isaiev (4:17.84).
France’s Elodie Lorandi (4:40.78) boasts an impressive record so far in these Championships. After three finals she now has three gold medals after she romped to victory in the Women’s 400m Freestyle S10. Paralympic champion and world record holder Katarzyna Pawlik (4:49.95) of Poland took silver with Sweden’s Oliwia Jablonska (4:43.24) the bronze.
World-record holder Oleksandr Mashchenko (1:14.35) claimed gold in the Men’s 100m Breaststroke SB11. His teammate Viktor Smyrnov (1:19.29) took silver and bronze went to Poland’s Marcin Ryszka (1:23.06)
There was a world record broken in the Women’s 100m Breaststroke SB11 thanks to Sweden’s Maja Reichard (1:28.90). Silver and bronze went to Ukraine’s Yana Berezhna (1:33.90) and France’s Stephanie Douard (1:36.49) respectively.
Ukraine’s Andriy Kalyna (1:07.08) won his third gold medal of the Championships narrowly missing out on her own world record in the Men’s 100m Breaststroke. Poland’s Krzysztof Paterka (1:12.13) took silver while Austria became the 25th nation to win a medal at the Championships with bronze through Andreas Onea (1:12.80)
The final race of the day, the Women’s 100m Breaststroke SB8 was an absolute cracker. On the day the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games were awarded to Pyeongchang, Korea, Russia’s Sochi 2014 Ambassador Olesya Vladykina (1:19.37) took gold ahead of Great Britain’s Claire Cashmore (1:20.37). Bronze went to Poland’s Paulina Wozniak (1:19.37).
Ukraine now stand clear at the top of the medals table with 62 medals, including 25 golds.