Madeira 2024: A look back at the European Championships

Portuguese island will host the seventh edition of the Euros this year marking the 15th anniversary of the inaugural championships in Reykjavik, Iceland 16 Apr 2024
A man with black cap swimming breaststroke
Sixt-time Paralympic champion Yevhenii Bohodaiko of Ukraine made his Euros debut at Berlin 2011 and will be in action again in Madeira this year
ⒸOctavio Passos/Getty Images
By World Para Swimming

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the first edition of the Para Swimming European Championships and what better way to celebrate than seeing Euros return in 2024. Madeira Island will host the competition for the third time from 21 to 24 April serving as an important part of the preparations for the Paralympic Games in Paris just four months later.

As athletes get ready for the action at the Funchal Olympics Pool Complex, it is time to look back at some of the top moments of the European Championships.

Reykjavik 2009

Para swimmers from 37 nations travelled to the Icelandic capital in October 2009 for the inaugural Euros. The ten-day event saw 24 world records set, four of them from Germany’s Daniela Schulte - including two in the women’s 200m individual medley SM11.

First, Schulte established a new world mark in the heats and then beat her own record in the final. One year later, the German took a gold medal in the same race in the World Championships in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.

Berlin 2011

Ukraine became the first country to cross the 100-medal mark at the Para Swimming European Championships in German capital Berlin 13 years ago. Out of the 37 gold medals won by the Ukrainians, eight came from a 17-year-old Yevhenii Bohodaiko who a year later would collect two gold medals at the Paralympic Games in London.

Today, Bohodaiko is a six-time Paralympic champion and will be one the main stars of the Ukrainian team at Madeira 2024.


Eindhoven 2014

Another star of this year's Euros, Chantalle Zijderveld was a volunteer when the Dutch city hosted the World Para Swimming Championships in 2010. Inspired by watch she saw, Zijderveld decided to take on swimming for real.

Four years later, she left Eindhoven as European champion in the women’s 100m breaststroke SB9 and was the one inspiring new young swimmers. The Dutch is the current Paralympic champion in the women's 100 m breaststroke SB9 and 200 m individual medley SM10.

Funchal 2016

The first time Madeira Island hosted the competition the Europeans were not the only ones in action. As the first European Open Championships, it allowed swimmers from all over the world that used the event in their preparations for the Paralympic Games in Rio four months later.

Brazilian Para swimming legend Daniel Dias did not miss the opportunity taking home two gold medals and breaking the men’s 50m backstroke S5 world record. Ukraine topped the medals table once again falling short of the 100-medal mark with 98 podiums.

Dublin 2018

While Ukraine reached impressive 106 podiums to top the medals standings again, Italy made a strong statement at the Dublin 2018 World Para Swimming Allianz European Championships. Their 72 medals were more than double the amount the Azzurri picked in the previous edition at Funchal 2016.

Eighteen-year-old Simone Barlaam left Ireland with four gold medals as he began his journey to become a dominant figure in Para swimming events for the following years - watch out for him again in Madeira this month!

Madeira 2020

The last Euros had to be postponed to 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and once again the competition hosted athletes from all over the planet in an Open edition ahead of the Paralympics in Tokyo. Italy and Ukraine were again neck to neck for the top of the medals table with the Italian taking more gold (34-33) and the Ukrainian winning more medals (93-80). 

Thirteen world records were broken during seven days of competition. Thirty two nations picked at least one medal, and 19 of them topped the podium at least once. Hosts Portugal took three medals three years ago, with an emotional gold from Susana Veiga in the last day of competition in the women's 50m freestyle S9.