Number one hit this week in the Funchal Swimming Pools Complex, the Italian national anthem played for the 27th time as the Azzurri claimed the last gold medal of Madeira 2022 on Saturday (18 June) to top the standings for the second consecutive World Para Swimming Championships.
It was the sixth gold medal for Simone Barlaam and Stefano Raimondi who joined Giulia Terzi and Xenia Palazzo to finish first in the mixed 4x100m freestyle relay 34pts with a new world record (4:02.53).
“Work hard and have fun, that’s the secret,” Barlaam said after the race.
“It was not easy, but we did. First place in the medals table, so good job to us,” he added with his trademark big smile.
Earlier in the evening, Raimondi and Barlaam had already celebrated victories respectively in the men’s 100m backstroke S10 and the men’s 50m freestyle S9 – a race in which the Italian equalled his world record (24.00).
USA gold rush
A Saturday gold rush with five wins saw USA climb to second place. The team was led by Leanne Smith who claimed two golds in the final day making it seven triumphs in seven races – more than any other athlete at Madeira 2022.
“I didn’t know that. I’m really happy that I was able to get through this week strong, but this is definitely a nice accolade to have,” Smith said.
In the morning, she set the championships record in the win in the women’s 200m freestyle S3 (3:16.95). Later in the evening, Smith won the 100m freestyle S3 with a new world record (1:27.62).
“It’s exciting. Every time I get in the water to practice, I know where they [the records] are and I try to match my train up to continue to move towards those records. The ultimate goal is to break them,” Smith added.
Another world record to fall on day seven was the women’s 100m freestyle S5 with Great Britain’s Tully Kearney (1:13.34) – her third gold and third world mark in three events at Madeira 2022.
Brazil finished in the top three with 19 gold medals following two victories on Saturday. Gabriel Bandeira won the men’s 100m butterfly S14 and Mariana Ribeiro the women’s 50m freestyle S9.
Portugal bagged silver in that same race with Susana Veiga to give the host nation its best ever campaign at the World Championships (three medals, one silver, two bronze).
France saved the best for last taking its first gold at Madeira 2022 and then picking a second with Alex Portal (men’s 200m medley SM13) and Laurent Chardard (men’s 50m butterfly S6), respectively.
A star is born
The first race of the final session witnessed a young star break through as Spain’s 13-year-old Anastasiya Dmytriv finished ahead of Ireland’s Paralympic champion Ellen Keane to win the women’s 100m breaststroke SB8.
“It’s my first World Championships, I’m really happy and my mom is very proud. I swam well in the morning but I couldn’t imagine that I would win,” said Dmytriv who made her international debut this year at the Berlin World Series.
Dutch swimmer Rogier Dorsman claimed his seventh medal and fifth gold on day seven winning the men’s 400m freestyle S11. USA’s Anastasia Pagonis was the winner of the women’s 400m freestyle S11.
Mexico’s Jesus Hernandez Hernandez visited the podium for the sixth time this week to receive the men’s 100m freestyle S3 gold medal.
The last day in Madeira also saw victories from Chile (Vicente Almonacid), Hungary (Bianca Pap), Ukraine (Andrii Trusov), Germany (Tanja Scholz), Israel (Ami Omer Dadaon) and Australia (Paige Leonhardt).
All medallists, records and results can be found here.
Manchester, Great Britain will host the next edition of the World Championships from 31 July to 6 August 2023.