Gabriel Araujo leads Brazil to the top of medals table in Lignano Sabbiadoro

Second Citi Para Swimming World Series of the season sees 10 new world records* set in four days of competition in Italy 13 Mar 2023
An armless man putting his tongue out of his mouth in celebration next to a swimming pool
Brazil's Gabriel Araujo and his trademark celebration at Lignano Sabbiadoro 2023 where he picked five golds
ⒸPietro Rizzato/Federazione Italiana Nuoto Paralimpico
By Victor Pereira | For World Para Swimming

The dancing, smile, and out-of-mouth tongue combination was the most seen scene during the four days of the Citi Para Swimming World Series Lignano Sabbiadoro 2023 which took place in Italy from 9 to 12 March (Thursday to Sunday).

Brazil’s Gabriel Araujo (S2) produced his trademark celebration as he bagged more gold medals (five) than any other swimmer in the Series at the Bella Italia EFA Village pool. 

Gabrielzinho, as he is best known in his home country, triumphed in the men’s 50m and 100m freestyle, 150m medley, 50m backstroke, and 50m butterfly multiclass races – smashing his own S2 world record* in the latter by 10 hundredths of second (55.49).

The Brazilian squad also collected golds with Gabriel Bandeira (S14) in the men’s 100m backstroke and 100m butterfly, and Cecilia de Araujo (S8) in the women’s 50m and 100m freestyle.

Hosts at the heels

Hosts Italy battled Brazil for the top of the medals standings. Paralympic medallist Monica Boggioni (S5) grabbed two out of the eight Italian golds in Lignano Sabbiadoro by dominating the breaststroke and backstroke sprint races.

Paralympic champion Carlota Gilli (SM13) won the women’s 200m medley, the same event where she got her second gold medal at Tokyo 2020. Another Paralympic gold medallist, Giulia Terzi (S7) won the 50m butterfly in the World Series, an event in which she got a bronze at Tokyo 2020 and a silver at the Madeira 2022 World Championships.

Closing the list of Italian female swimmers who took gold at home was Angela Procida (SM2) in the women’s 150m medley. 

Efrem Morelli (SB3) in the 50m breaststroke and Francesco Bocciardo (S5) in the 200m freestyle were Italy’s winners in male events. The host nation also topped the podium in the mixed 4x100m medley relay S14. 

World Records* galore

During the four days of competition, 10 new world records* were set. Curiously, all of them in the morning heats.

Italy’s Paralympic and world champion Simone Barlaam (S9) and Czechia’s David Kratochvil (S11) broke two records each. 

Barlaam lowered his own mark in the men’s 50m butterfly by clocking 26.05 and set 1:58.34 as the new fastest time in the 200m freestyle. Kratochvil swam 31.58 in the 50m backstroke and 2:28.24 in the 200m backstroke, respectively.

The Netherlands’ Chantalle Zijderveld broke the women’s 200m breaststroke SB9 world record * in a time of 2:45.07. She also picked one of her country’s two gold medals in Lignano in the 100m breaststroke. 

The second Dutch triumph at  the Bella Italia EFA Village came with Amber van Der Kruk (S14) in the 200m freestyle event.

USA’s Christie Raleigh-Crossley (S9) had a journey to remember in Italy. She set a new world record in the 50m backstroke by clocking 32.01 and won the 100m backstroke event, her country’s only gold medal at Lignano Sabbiadoro 2023.

Complete results from the second Citi Para Swimming World Series of the season can be found here.

More to follow

Following the high-level Series in Italy there will be just a few days to get ready again for another leg of the Citi Para Swimming World Series.

Sheffield, Great Britain will host four more days of action from Thursday to Sunday this week (16 to 19 March).

In the World Series athletes take part in multi-class races and their results in each series are calculated using a standardised World Para Swimming points system. 

At the end of a World Series’ season, the best female and male swimmers are awarded based on their rankings. Last year, Colombia’s Carlos Serrano and Germany’s Tanja Scholz were the winners of the top male and female categories, respectively. 

*World records are subject to ratification by World Para Swimming