Grachat seeks success at home swimming Euros

The 400m freestyle S9 World Championships bronze medallist is hoping that the Euros will be a stepping stone for Rio 2016. 22 Apr 2016
Man with medal around his neck standing on a podium
Portugal's David Grachat during the men's 400m freestyle S9 victory ceremony at the 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships in Glasgow, Great Britain.
ⒸLuc Percival Photography. All rights reserved.
By Becki Ellsmore and the IPC

“It's an honour to see how Portugal [has become] a country that supports para-swimmers, and that makes me very proud, makes me think that our journey has just begun.”

With seven days to go until the 2016 IPC Swimming European Open Championships begin in Funchal, Portugal, home swimmer David Grachat is hoping to live up to the expectations of his country this year.

The S9 swimmer secured his first World Championships medal in 2015, with bronze in the 400m freestyle. That followed on from his bronze medal at the last edition of the European Championships in the same event in 2014.

The 2016 season will see him aim even higher as he attempts to make it onto his first Paralympic podium at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

In the lead-up, Grachat will get the once in a lifetime experience of competing in front of home crowds at the Euros from 30 April – 7 May.

“It's an honour to see how Portugal [has become] a country that supports para-swimmers, and that makes me very proud, makes me think that our journey has just begun,” Grachat said. “However, the weight of responsibility is [greater] than ever because all eyes will be on us. As a team, we need to be in our best shape in order to make our country proud!”

The 29-year-old has decisively mapped out his aims for his home Championships: “Firstly, beat my personal best, secondly, get to the finals, and thirdly, reach the podium.”

Grachat has been training hard for this year. He is in the pool six days a week and attends intensive training camps.

Looking further ahead to the Paralympic Games, Grachat’s goals are clear: “Reaching a good place in the 400m freestyle final... maybe getting a medal, this would be definitely the achievement of a dream!”

A podium finish in Rio would be a career-defining breakthrough for Grachat. Experience has taught him not to miss a chance to prove himself.

“In 2004, I missed the opportunity to participate in the Athens Paralympic Games because I didn't make the marks on time - I did it two weeks after the deadline,” he recalled. “After that, I promised myself that I would never miss the opportunity to participate in the Paralympic Games... I've been working really hard for that big moment!

“I'm really looking forward to Rio, [they] will be my third Paralympic Games. I really want to taste, again, the feeling of being in this mega event. It's the accomplishment of all your hard work and dedication.”

Tickets for the 2016 IPC Swimming European Championships are still available at

Morning sessions begin at 9:00am (WET) each day and evening sessions at 5:00pm and all coverage will be livestreamed at the Funchal 2016 website.