Federico Morlacchi and Arjola Trimi both won gold for Italy on Wednesday (6 August) evening at the 2014 IPC Swimming European Championships in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, propelling the country to fifth in the medals table.
Italy have now won 11 medals - made up of six golds, two silver and three bronze - this week, to already surpass the nine podim finishes they secured at the 2011 European Championships in Berlin, Germany.
Morlacchi (57.05) won a fierce men’s 100m freestyle S9 to take back-to-back golds following his success in Tuesday’s 400m free. Spain’s silver medallist Jose Mari (57.24) led at the turn but could not sustain the pace. Hungary’s Tamas Sors (57.41) finished strongly, moving up from sixth at the turn to third at the finish.
Arjola Trimi (3:25.00) sealed a hat-trick of golds in Eindhoven with victory in the women’s 200m freestyle S2. Dutch world record holder Lisette Teunissen (3:30.25) picked up silver and Ukraine’s Mariia Lafina (3:51.99) the bronze.
Two world and one European records were broken during the evening’s 14 medal events.
Russia’s five-time Paralympic champion Dmitrii Kokarev (4:22.06) took six seconds of his own three-month-old world record in the men’s 200m freestyle S2, to take his second title of the week. The 23-year-old beat Ukraine’s Serhii Palamarchuk (4:35.81) and Greece’s Aristeidis Makromdimitris (4:37.54) into silver and bronze respectively.
Spain’s Paralympic and world champion Michelle Alonso (1:15.83) said she was happy to get a good result after she shaved over a second off her own women’s 100m breaststroke SB14 world record to win gold. The 20-year-old was challenged in the closing stages by the Netherlands’ Magda Toeters (1:17.60), the fastest qualifier, but just had enough to seal the win. Great Britain’s Nicole Lough (1:18.27) was third.
Lough’s team-mate Andrew Mullen (37.66) smashed the European record in the men’s 50m butterfly S5 to win gold. Beytullah Eroglu’s (38.18) silver was Turkey’s first medal of the Championships and Andrea Castagneto (40.76) added to Italy’s medal haul with bronze.
“I’m just so happy, it’s my first ever major title,” Mullen told British broadcaster Channel 4 afterwards. “I feel like I’ve been waiting so long for it and I’ve had a lot of second places and fourth places. At the last Europeans I was so disappointed to not to come away with gold, so to do it a few years later, I’m just so happy.”
The swimmer of the day was arguably Great Britain’s Stephanie Slater.
Not content with winning the 100m butterfly with a new world record during the morning session, the 23-year-old (2:41.73) claimed her third title of the meeting hours later with victory in the women’s 200m individual medley SM8. Russia’s Oleysa Vladykina (2:46.36), who was leading with 50m to go, took silver, whilst Denmark’s Amalie Vinther (3:03.15) hung on for bronze.
Great Britain also took gold in the women’s 100m freestyle S9 with Stephanie Millward (1:04.08) winning her battle with teammate Amy Marren (1:04.22). Spain’s Sarai Gascon (1:05.03) took bronze in a race that saw the top three separated by less than a second.
World champion and home favourite Marc Evers (1:07.11) took his second gold of the week in the men’s 100m breaststroke SB4. Scott Quin (1:07.95) and teammate Aaron Moores (1:09.65) added a silver and bronze respectively to Great Britain’s medal tally.
Paralympic champion Charles Rozoy (1:02.03) swam an incredibly strong last 25m to retain his European title from under the nose of Russia’s Denis Tarasov (1:02.46) in the men’s 100m butterfly S8. Tarasov looked to have it all sewn up, but Rozoy found some speed to take France’s first gold.
“It was a very good race because I’ve had a big problem with my shoulder for seven weeks and I just got back in the water one month ago,” said Rozoy. “It’s not a very good time but I am first.”
Tarasov’s teammate Konstantin Lisenkov (1:04.44) took his third medal of the competition in bronze.
Dzmitry Salei (2:13.00) converted his fastest qualifying time into gold in the men’s 200m individual medley SM12 to claim Azerbaijan’s first medal. The Ukrainian duo of Danylo Chufarov (2:14.24) and Sergii Klippert (2:15.19) completed the podium.
Spain’s Teresa Perales (46.88) was not happy with her performance, but was quick to praise her close rival Sarah Louise Rung (42.43) after she took silver behind the Norwegian in the women’s 50m butterfly S5.
“I’m happy for Norway. Sarah Louise [Rung] is amazing and such an amazing butterfly swimmer,” said Perales.
“I didn’t feel very well in the pool today. My position was too vertical at 20 metres. I expected the position but not the time.”
Hungary’s Reka Kezdi (48.07) claimed bronze.
Germany now sit sixth in the medals table, helped by Sebastian Iwanow’s (31.77) gold in the men’s 50m freestyle S6, his second in three days. Great Britain’s Sascha Kindred (32.46) was second and Greece’s Panagiotis Christaskis (32.85) third.
Ukraine remain top of the medals table after three days of competition and the leaders won two golds on Wednesday evening.
In the women’s 50m freestyle S6, the closest race of the day, Yelyzaveta Mereshko (35.19) won her second medal in as many days, beating Great Britain’s Ellie Simmonds to gold by just 0.04 seconds. Mereshko’s compatriot Olena Fedota (37.65) made it a double Ukrainian podium.
Finally, Yevheniy Bohoydako (2:34.15) made it two from two with victory in the men’s 200m individual medley SM7. Russia’s Andrey Gladkov (2:43.62) and German Tobias Pollap (2:47.65) competed the top three.
Tickets are still available at www.eindhoven2014.com, as well as high quality photos of the event.
All morning and evening sessions will be livestreamed at www.ParalympicSport.TV and live results will be available at the Eindhoven 2014 website.
Live updates will be posted to the IPC Swimming Facebook page and the Twitter account or search #Eindhoven2014.