There is something special about Madeira that makes even Brazil’s Maria Carolina Santiago and Italy’s Simone Barlaam surprised with their achievements in the World Para Swimming Championships.
Day six at Madeira 2022 saw the Brazilian claim her seventh medal and sixth gold while the Italian took his fourth gold in four events breaking the world record in the men’s 100m backstroke S9 on Friday (17 June).
Barlaam clocked 59.72 becoming the first athlete in his class to swim the race below one minute.
“I’m over the moon. I wasn’t expecting that, the time was a surprise for me as well,” said the Italian, who also broke the men’s 100m freestyle S9 world record.
“I think it’s sun, the warmth of the people. It is a good mood,” Barlaam added about his connection to Madeira where he bagged four golds at last year’s European Championships.
Santiago was the first to touch the wall in the mixed 4x100m freestyle relay 49pts winning the race alongside Matheus Rheine, Douglas Matera and Lucilene da Silva. It was her second relay gold in addition to her four individual triumphs in Portugal.
“It was the best way to end this World Championships. Before I came to Madeira I was really worried because I am afraid of flights. But I think it is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been and the atmosphere here was perfect to make us swim so well,” said the Brazilian.
Great Britain’s Tully Kearney also had that Friday feeling breaking the world record in the women’s 200m freestyle S5 (2:42. 36) and taking her second victory at Madeira 2022.
The evening session began with spectacular five gold medals for Ukraine within 50 minutes.
The Ukrainian dominated both the women’s and men’s 400m freestyle S13 with Anna Stetsenko and Kyrylo Garashchenko, respectively.
Fifteen minutes later, Mykhailo Serbin set a champions record in the men’s 100m backstroke S11 (1:06.98). The same race saw hosts Portugal pick their first medal at the World Championships with Marco Meneses’ bronze.
Andrii Trusov won the men’s 50m freestyle S7 and Anton Kol finished first in the men’s 50m backstroke S1.
Japan made history as Chikako Ono became the first female Para swimmer to take a World Championships gold in 20 years (since Mar del Plata 2002) in her victory in the women’s 100m backstroke S11.
“I am really happy to get a gold medal after such a long time. When I saw the entries I thought I had my best chance to win and I was really determined,” Ono said.
Italy extended its lead in the medals standings to 22 golds with Francesco Bocciardo in the men’s 200m freestyle S5 and Xenia Palazzo in the women’s 200m medley SM8 adding to Barlaam’s triumph.
Fifth for Firth, two for hosts
USA remains in second after McKenzie Coan took her second victory at Madeira 2022 (women’s 50m freestyle S7) and Robert Griswold his third (men’s 200m medley SM8 – bronze to Portugal with Diogo Cancela).
Brazil is one gold medal behind USA (18 to 17) thanks to the relay victory and Gabriel Araujo’s win in the men’s 50m backstroke S2.
Kearney’s world record was not the only Great Britain victory on Friday. Team GB reached 16 golds after Maisie Summers-Newton in the women’s third triumph in Madeira (women’s 100m breaststroke SB6) and a nail-biting finish in the mixed 4x100m medley relay S14 final.
Bethany Firth touched the wall 0.01 before Australia’s Madeleine McTernan to bag her fifth gold at the 2022 Worlds. Poppy Maskill, Scott Quin and Reece Dunn were the other members of the relay team.
Spain topped the podium twice on day six. First in the morning with Antoni Ponce in the men’s 100m breaststroke SB5 and in the evening with Nuria Marquez Soto in the women’s 100m backstroke S9.
Rowan Crothers of Australia, Aurelie Rivard of Canada, Nelson Crispin of Colombia, Mexico’s Jesus Hernandez Hernandez and Singapore’s Yip Pin Xiu were the other winners of the penultimate day of the World Championships.
All medallists, records and results from day six are available here.
Madeira 2022 wraps up on Saturday (18) with 25 finals at the Funchal Swimming Pools Complex.
You can watch the last day of the World Championships live on World Para Swimming website and Facebook page.