Brazil has found a new Para swimming star in the same S5 class dominated by the country’s Paralympic legend Daniel Dias for over a decade.
Sixteen-year-old Samuel Oliveira won two gold medals on Monday (13 June) making it three podiums in three events at the Madeira 2022 World Para Swimming Championships after two days of competition.
Samuka, as he is called in Brazil, first triumphed in the men’s 50m backstroke S5 (36.58). Then, in the final event of the day, he helped the mixed 4x50m freestyle 20pts relay to take another victory (2:20.40, new Americas record).
“I competed against Daniel [Dias] in Brazil when I began and I was finished second, and him first. But he always said, ‘you’re getting closer and closer’ until one day I beat him,” Oliveira said.
“I learned a lot from Daniel, he is a fantastic guy and he helped me a lot. I am happy to continue his legacy,” the teenage talent added.
The Brazilian lost his arms when he was hit by an electric shock while flying a kite. His cousin Tiago Oliveira was together with him and was hit. Now he is also competing in Madeira and finished sixth in the race.
Later Oliveira joined Joana Neves (S5), Daniel Mendes (S6) e Lídia Cruz (S4) to take gold in the relay.
“It was great, first I won gold in the individual race and now it was together with my team. I am really happy for all of them too,” Oliveira said.
Four golds to USA
USA picked four golds on Tuesday at the Funchal Swimming Pools Complex, more than any other team.
McKenzie Coan was the first on the podium taking her third consecutive world title in the women’s 400m freestyle S7.
“I was a little nervous coming here. I fractured my knee in three places and two months ago I didn’t even know it was possible [to be at the Worlds]. I feel emotional just to talk about it, knowing all I’ve been through to come here and defend my title” the US Para swimmer said.
Leanne Smith won the women’s 150m medley SM3 followed by Robert Griswold in the men’s 100m backstroke S8 and Collen Young in the women’s 100m breaststroke SB13 who set a new Americas record (1:14.79).
World records from Australia and Italy
Two world records fell on day two. Italy’s Antonio Fantin finished first in the men’s 100m freestyle S6 in 1:03. 65.
Australia’s Timothy Hodge set a new mark in the men’s 200m medley SM9 (2:13.43).
His teammate Benjamin Hance gave the Aussie team another gold on Monday in the men’s 100m backstroke S14. Italy also took a second gold in the day. Xenia Palazzo was the fastest woman in the 100m backstroke S8.
Germany picked two golds with Tanja Scholz in the women’s 100m freestyle S4 (1:20.70, championships record) and Taliso Engel in the men’s 100m breaststroke SB13.
But there was a silver medal more valuable than gold in the women’s 100m breaststroke SB13 with Elena Semechin Krawzow. The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic champion is still undergoing treatment for a brain tumour discovered at the end of last year.
Great Britain topped the podium twice while there were more winners from the Americas region with gold medals to Argentina and Colombia.
Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Turkey also triumphed on Monday. All medallists and complete results can be found here.
The Madeira 2022 action continues on Tuesday (14 June), day three of the World Championships.
The Madeira Worlds is being livestreamed on World Para Swimming Facebook page.