The Netherlands’ Lisa Kruger broke the women’s 100m breaststroke SB9 world record on her Paralympic debut on day one of swimming at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games on Thursday (8 September), headlining a series of five swimmers to set new bests.
Kruger, 16, touched the wall in 1:15.47 to shave more than one second off the mark of world champion teammate Chantalle Zijderveld from April. Zijderveld (1:17.38) was second, beating Australia’s Madeleine Scott (1:19.51) into third.
Uzbekistan’s Fotimakhon Amilova (1:04.72) also had an impressive Paralympic debut in the women’s 100m butterfly S13. The 17-year-old stormed to a new world record ahead of the USA’s Rebecca’s Meyers (1:04.94). Amilova’s teammate, Muslima Odilova (1:05.92), was third.
China’s Paralympic silver medallist Hongguang Jia qualified with a new world record in the men’s 100m backstroke S6.
“Wow, I just did really well – that was not what I was planning,” said a surprised Jia. “My family back in China will be really happy for me, sure, but breaking the world record in the heat doesn't mean I’ve won a gold medal.”
His time of 1:12.27 sees him head into this evening’s finals for a clash with world and Paralympic champion teammate Tao Zheng (1:13.59). Ukraine’s Iaroslav Semenenko (1:14.78) was third.
Jia’s compatriot Lingling Song went on to break the women’s 100m backstroke S6 world record, touching in at 1:24.66. Chinese title holder Lu Dong (1:26.43) was second quickest, followed by Ukraine’s Yelyzaveta Mereshko (1:27.64).
Great Britain’s Paralympic champion Bethany Firth (1:04.53) led the women’s 100m backstroke S14 with a new world record. Firth, who showed nothing of the injury which saw her pull out of the 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships, led Dutch Paralympic bronze medallist Marlou van der Kulk (1:07.23) into second.
“I really wasn’t expecting to break it in the heat,” she said. “I'm just so chuffed with the swim. The girls really do push each other on and I can’t wait to come back for the final.”
Firth’s world champion teammate Jessica-Jane Applegate (1:08.41) was third.
The atmosphere in the stands reached fever pitch when multiple Paralympic champion Daniel Dias walked out for his men’s 200m freestyle S5 heat. Leading the field, Dias swam 2:39.35 spurred on by his local support. The USA’s Roy Perkins (2:39.69) was second, followed by Great Britain’s Andrew Mullen (2:43.20).
Belarusian Ihar Boki had the perfect start to his Rio 2016 campaign in the men’s 100m butterfly S13. The multiple world and Paralympic champion is aiming for six gold medals at the Aquatics Stadium, and set a new Paralympic record of 54.54.
Uzbekistan’s Muzzafar Tursunkhujaev (58.21) was second, followed by teammate Kirill Pankov. Brazil’s Tomaz Matera (58.40) raised the roof with a new Americas record to also qualify.
Ukraine’s Worlds silver medallist Olga Sviderska (1:39.07) will aim to improve on her silver medal from London 2012 as the new Paralympic record holder in the women’s 100m freestyle S3. China’s Quiping Peng (1:39.16) and Kazakstan’s Zulfiya Gabidullina (1:39.17) were second and third respectively.
Dutch Paralympic champion Marc Evers set a new Paralympic record in heat one of the men’s 100m backstroke S14, with a time of 1:00.97. But his South Korean nemesis Inkook Lee (1:00.81) lowered the mark again in the second heat. Australia’s Daniel Fox (1:03.35) was third.
Norway’s world and Paralympic gold medallist Sarah-Louise Rung is going for her second consecutive title in the women’s 200m freestyle S5. As the leader from the heats, Rung finished ahead of China’s Li Zhang (2:55.67), who set a new Asian record. Spain’s Teresa Perales (2:56.53), a five-time Paralympian, was third.
There was further Chinese success in the heats courtesy of Liting Ke (1:22.72), with a new Paralympic record in the women’s 100m backstroke S7. Ke lowered the mark of Australia’s Jacqueline Freney from London 2012. The New Zealand duo of Rebecca Dubber (1:23.62) and Nikita Howarth (1:24.69) were second and third respectively.
China’s Zhipeng Jin (1:26.77) came first in his men’s 100m freestyle S4 heat. South Korean world champion Giseong Jo (1:26.82) and France’s David Smetanine (1:28.10) completed the top three.
Great Britain’s world champion Oliver Hynd (4:31.90) led his heat in the men’s 400m freestyle S8. The USA’s Robert Griswold (4:38.46), a 2015 Worlds bronze medallist, was second as the crowd cheered Brazil’s Caio Oliveira (4:40.64) into third.
Hynd’s title holder teammate Jonathan Fox (1:11.37) went quickest in the men’s 100m backstroke S7. Italo Pereira (1:12.56) added to the Brazilian medal hopes for this evening in second.
The USA’s defending champion Jessica Long (4:48.26) heads into the finals as the fastest qualifier in the women’s 400m freestyle S8. A controlled swim saw her finish ahead of Australia’s Lakeisah Patterson (4:57.37) and Great Britain’s Stephanie Millward (4:59.95).
South Africa’s Kevin Paul (1:06.19) placed himself in pole position to reclaim his men’s 100m breaststroke SB9 title from 2008. The Netherlands’ Duncan van Haaren (1:07.33) and Ukraine’s Denys Dubrov (1:07.92) were second and third respectively. Canada’s James Leroux (1:10.05) qualified with a new Americas record.
Live coverage and results of swimming is available at Paralympic.org. Live updates will also be posted to IPC Swimming’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.