As the World Para Swimming World Series in Glasgow concluded on Sunday night, British swimmers had broken most world records and dominated the podiums, placing the home nation at the top of the medal table. But the four-day competition’s outstanding individual performance came from Japanese veteran Takayuki Suzuki, who seems to be on the right path as he aims for medals at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
The 32-year-old won the men’s 50m freestyle final on Sunday night and earned his third gold medal in Glasgow, having finished on the podium in all five of his events at Tollcross International Swimming Centre.
“It’s been a blast here,” he said after beating Spain’s Jose Mari Alcaraz and Finnish Leo Lahteenmaki in the final.
“This competition has been really, really tough. I’ve just tried to survive and manage faster times in the finals than in the heats, that’s how I’ve done it.”
The four-time Paralympian’s proudest moment, however, was from one of the two events where he finished second – Thursday’s 100m freestyle final where he broke the S4 world record*.
“I didn’t expect to break the world record, so I was surprised and I’m quite happy with that,” he said.
“Breaking the world record made me confident to swim in the world champs in September and hopefully it’ll help when I swim in Tokyo at the Paralympics too.”
Great Britain’s Alice Tai can also look forward to the London 2019 Para Swimming World Championships with more confidence, having won two gold medals and broken the world record twice on Sunday.
The 20-year-old smashed the 50m freestyle S8 record in the heats with 29.66 and improved her start a little for the afternoon where she won the final in 29.43.
“I don’t think that I’ve swum close to this (50m freestyle time) since 2014 so I’m over the moon with that,” Tai said.
“It’s the first time that I’ve swum 50m freestyle internationally since I was here in 2015, so to just get back into it and going through that process again is nice.”
Tai ended a successful week by winning the 100m butterfly final ahead of teammates Jessica-Jane Applegate and Toni Shaw.
Adding to her 100m freestyle gold from Thursday and the 100m backstroke silver she got with a S8 world record time in Saturday’s final, Tai returns to London as the competition’s most decorated woman.
“I’ve really loved the atmosphere and everyone here, the whole meet has been exceptional,” she said.
In the last women’s event of the week, Monica Boggioni finally also got to climb up to the top of the podium – after five previous attempts. The Italian triple world champion won the 50m backstroke title before Great Britain’s Ellie Challis and Ines Rodriguez Martinez of Spain, leaving Glasgow on a high.
“I’m very happy, it’s been a very good World Series and I’m so happy to get to my first (medal) ceremony in my last race,” said the 20-year-old, who had just missed the podium as she finished fourth in Friday’s 200m freestyle final.
“I competed in six races and this is the last, so it’s great that it is the best.
“This is a very important step. I’m training for the World Championships in September so it is a good step forward, I am working very hard to get a good result then.”
Full results from Glasgow are available on British Swimming's website.
The next stop for the World Series will be the first Asian stage in the competition’s history, Singapore, from 10-12 May.
*World records are subject to ratification by World Para Swimming.