Chantalle Zijderveld of the Netherlands claimed her first gold medal of the London 2019 World Para Swimming Allianz Championships on Tuesday and then immediately apologised to her former roommate for denying her the top step on the podium.
Zijderveld powered to victory in the women’s 200m individual medley SM10 in a European record time of 2:27.00 and then conceded she had not even trained fully for the event.
“I don’t believe it, I’m really over the moon right now,” the 18-year-old said after pushing compatriot Lisa Kruger into second place.
“I was so terrified that I wouldn’t get a medal because I qualified in third while Lisa trained for this race the whole year. The first thing I said to her was ‘I’m so sorry’. We lived together for two years and we’re friends and train together so it’s great to have her on the podium with me.”
World records continue to fall
Italy surged to the top of the fledgling medals table on Tuesday following another night of shattered world records at the London Aquatics Centre.
Teen sensation Simone Barlaam again showed his class to win his second gold of London 2019, from lane six in the men’s 100 backstroke S9.
Barlaam was sitting outside the medal places after the morning heats but rebounded in the evening final to better Justin Zook’s standout world record from 2012 with a time of 1:01.22.
“I really can’t explain it,” Barlaam said after beating Ugo Didier of France and Australia’s Timothy Hodge into silver and bronze.
“After the heats I really wasn’t confident at all and I was only hoping to make the podium, so getting this legendary world record and winning gold in front of this crowd is amazing.”
In another of the night’s big performances, Mark Malyar shattered the world record in the men’s 400m freestyle S7 to win Israel’s first medal of London 2019. His time of 4:33.64 was over five seconds inside the previous best mark set in 2013.
Pascoe powers on
In the women’s S9 class, Sophie Pascoe of New Zealand sounded an ominous warning to any rivals hoping she has peaked too soon at London 2019.
“I’m glad that’s over now,” Pascoe said after adding the 100m backstroke gold medal to her victory on Monday in the 100m freestyle event.
“I didn’t want to go out too fast and then hold on as I usually tend to do, so the fact that I’m sticking to the race plan right now is really good. I’ll hit the 100m fly tomorrow, which is my favourite event.”
Another swimmer in irrepressible form is Great Britain’s Alice Tai, who again left Jessica Long of USA in her wake as she took the gold medal in the women’s 100m backstroke S8 in another world record time (1:08.04).
Also on Tuesday, rising star Jiang Yuyan of China proved that her opening night win over Ukraine’s Paralympic champion Yelyzaveta Mereshko was no fluke, as she stormed to the gold medal in the women’s 100m freestyle S6.
The 14-year-old again pushed Mereshko into silver but touched home fractionally short of the Ukrainian’s world record this time, as home favourite Maisie Summers-Newton took the bronze.
Firth finds form
In the women’s 100m backstroke S14, world record holder Bethany Firth was overjoyed to win gold following weeks of uncertainty over whether she would even be fit enough to race at these world championships.
The British Paralympic champion from Rio 2016 qualified through the national trials but then needed injections after a shoulder injury became inflamed.
“I knew I’d made the team I just didn’t know if I’d be able to swim here,” Firth said. “But the last few weeks of training have been going so well and have put me in a such a great mindset, I knew that coming from this injury I could do whatever I needed to do.”
Roman Zhdanov of Russia took the world record and gold medal from Takayuki Suzuki in the men’s 100m freestyle S4. The Japanese swimmer had been fastest in the heats, but Zhdanov found an extra three seconds in the final to touch home in 1:21.28 – almost half a second inside Suzuki’s world record.
There were also two gold medals and world records for China to celebrate in the final two races of Tuesday night.
Wang Xinyi lowered her own best mark to win the 100m backstroke S11, moments before the Chinese quartet took gold in the mixed 4x50 medley relay.
Live results, live streaming and athlete information can be found on the official London 2019 website.