Madeira 2024: Italy retain European crown

Azzurri claim four more titles on day seven to top the medal table for the second consecutive edition of the European Open Championships, Andrii Trusov brakes another world record as Ukraine finish second while the Netherlands take third place 27 Apr 2024
A podium of a relay swimming race with 12 athletes
Italy ended the championships on top of the podium, finishing first in the mixed 4x100m freestyle relay 34pts final with France taking silver and Spain bronze
ⒸPedro Vasconcelos/Madeira LOC
By AMP Media | For World Para Swimming

Italy finished on top for the second time straight as the Madeira 2024 Para Swimming European Open Championships came to a close on Saturday (27 April).

The south European Para swimming stars topped the medal table in the last edition of the championships, also held on the Portuguese island, in 2021, and repeated the feat in a strong display over seven days of action in the Funchal Olympic Pools Complex. With a total of 63 medals – 26 of which were gold, Italy beat No.2 Ukraine, on 68 medals including 21 victories, as the Netherlands, with 13 European titles, finished third. 

With four gold medals and a silver, Monica Boggioni was one of the main contributors to the Italian success in Madeira. The 25-year-old finished in style by retaining her title in the women's 100m freestyle S5, pushed all the way by Ukrainian runner-up Iryna Poida who finished eight tenths of a second after her. Agata Koupilova from Czechia took the bronze.

Men's 50m freestyle S9 world record holder Simone Barlaam from Italy ended a glorious run in the Funchal pool on a high, winning the event by more than a second's margin. Finishing in 24.41 seconds – 0.45 of a second from his world record time – the 23-year-old bagged his third gold medal at these championships as neutral athletes Denis Tarasov and Bogdan Mozgovoi took silver and bronze respectively.

Amazing Trusov

Ukraine, who won the standings in 2016 and 2018, gave Italy a run for the money until the last day of competition in Madeira, much thanks to their main man Andrii Trusov, who claimed five gold medals, one silver and one bronze. 

Ending a week of tough battles with Turkey's Turgut Aslan Yaraman on Saturday, Trusov beat his main Madeira 2024 competitor by 0.26 seconds to claim the men's 100m freestyle S7 gold medal in a new world record time of 59.62 seconds. Yaraman also finished under the previous world record time, also held by Trusov, as the two rivals closed a week of thriller finishes and records by becoming the first swimmers in the event to break the one-minute mark. European champion Federico Bicelli from Italy took the bronze in a time of 1:00.69 that would have given him the win had it not been for the two combatants in the front pushing each other to record times.

Ukrainian world champion Oleksandr Komarov crowned a successful run on the Portuguese island with his third gold medal, winning the men's 100m freestyle S5 title. Neutral athlete Kirill Pulver finished second, 1.41 seconds behind the winner, as Francesco Bocciardo from Italy took bronze.

The Netherlands secured their third place in the overall standings with a strong last day of action in Madeira, where the king of the championships, Rogier Dorsman, made it back to the top of the podium. After five consecutive gold medals in five days, Dorsman had had to settle for a bronze medal in the men's 100m backstroke S11 on Friday. On Saturday, things were back to normal as the 24-year-old won the men's 400m freestyle S11 in a dominant fashion to claim his sixth title in Madeira. 

Finishing in a new European record time of 4:26.57, Dorsman cut 1.90 seconds off his previous record from 2021, becoming the most decorated swimmer of the European Open Championships. The Czech world champion, 16-year-old David Kratochvil, took the silver medal 7.21 seconds after the winner, as Danylo Chufarov beat fourth-placed home favourite Marco Meneses by 37 hundredths of a second to clinch the bronze.

After outstanding performances in the world record-breaking relay win on Thursday as well as in Saturday's heats, vice Paralympic champion Olivier van de Voort was the man to beat in the men's 100m backstroke S10 final, and there, he made no mistakes. Touching the wall at 58.24 in the final, the come-backing Dutch 26-year-old, who retired after the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games but came back to the sport, was the only swimmer in the final to finish in under one minute and will be a strong medal candidate at this year's Games in Paris, France. Italy's Stefano Raimondi, with four gold medals at Madeira 2024, had to settle for a second silver 2.46 seconds behind the winner. His teammate Riccardo Menciotti clinched the bronze.

Van de Voort's teammate Liesette Bruinsma also ended a successful Madeira 2024 campaign on top of the podium. The 23-year-old added another European title to her medal tally of one gold medal and two silvers as she dominated the women's 400m freestyle S11 final, leading the race from start to finish. Touching in at 5:05.67, Bruinsma was more than half a minute faster than Tatiana Blattnerova from Slovakia, who took the silver medal after a tough battle with Great Britain's Eliza Humphrey who had to settle for a bronze. Finishing eight tenths of a second faster than Humphrey, Blattnerova produced Slovakia's best result at Madeira 2024, where they had previously won one bronze.

Emotional Torres

Israel's Ami Omer Dadaon has had a dominant run at Madeira 2024, his five events resulting in four gold medals and a silver. His fourth victory came on Saturday night as he finished on top with a men's 200m freestyle S4 triumph. The 23-year-old Paralympic champion and world record holder led the final from start to finish to win in 2:53.22 – 3.53 seconds before neutral athlete Roman Zhdanov in second place as Italy's Luigi Beggiato took bronze 13.58 seconds after the winner. 

It was however Spain's Javier Torres who got the most attention after the race. Finishing 42.15 seconds behind Dadaon, the 49-year-old bowed out from a long and successful career with a fifth place in his last race. Torres, who won the relay gold medal at the Barcelona 1992 Paralympic Games, has got 16 Games medals to his name, including five first places, over seven Games. Making his last strokes of 33 years of international competitions the audience gave the five-time world champion standing ovations, the resigning veteran blowing kisses back in response.

Carlotta Gilli showed why she is the Paralympic-, world- and European champion in the women's 200m individual medley SM13 as she won in 2:25.41 – just under four seconds from her own world record. The gold medal was the fifth for the Italian 23-year-old, who has won six medals at Madeira 2024, her second place in the 100m backstroke S13 being the only event she did not win. In a close battle for the second place behind Gilli, who led the race from start to finish, Uzbekistan's Shokhsanamkhon Toshpulatova drew the long straw, finishing five hundredths of a second ahead of third-placed Roisin Ni Riain from Ireland.

And the supporters of Spain, at No.5 in the medal table, had plenty to cheer for on the last day of the championships. Spanish world champion Anastasiya Dmytriv Dmytriv won the women's 100m breaststroke SB8 gold medal in a comfortable fashion. Finishing in 1:20.72, she beat Paralympic champion Ellen Keane from Ireland by 3.47 seconds, leaving Keane having to settle for a silver medal. The previous European champion, neutral athlete Viktoriia Ishchiulova, claimed the bronze 4.62 after the winner.

World champion Marta Fernandez Infante won the women's 100m freestyle S3 gold medal in 1:38.25, finishing 3.83 seconds before Great Britain's Ellie Challis who had to settle for a silver medal, just like at last year's World Championships. Neutral athlete Zoya Shchurova took the bronze 28.57 seconds behind the winner. It was the second gold medal at Madeira 2024 for 29-year-old Fernandez Infante, who leaves Portugal with four medals from five races.

Third for Newman-Baronius

Above Spain in the medal table, Great Britain put on a strong performance in Madeira to finish fourth, showing plenty of talent and good shape ahead of the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.

British 17-year-old rising star Olivia Lily Newman-Baronius won her third medal in three events at Madeira 2024 as she added a second gold medal to her tally in the women's 100m butterfly S14 where she set a new European record earlier this month. Her teammate William Ellard won the men's 100m butterfly S14 final to claim his second gold medal this week, concluding his European Championships campaign with four podium finishes.

This year's Paralympic Games host nation France claimed the sixth place in the medal table with seven first places, the last of them bagged by European record holder Laurent Chardard the men's 50m butterfly S6 on Saturday. Spain's David Sanchez Sierra finished second and neutral athlete Andrei Granichka finished third.

Also on seven victories, Germany took the seventh place in the standings, much thanks to five-time medallist Verena Schott, who finished the championships on a high. The 35-year-old took her second European title in Madeira on Saturday as she won the women's 50m butterfly S6 gold medal with a strong finish. In a close final, the German touched the wall 0.31 of a second before Ireland's Nicole Turner who had to settle for a silver. Great Britain's Maisie Summers-Newton, with two gold medals at these championships, completed the podium, finishing one hundredths of a second before Ireland's Dearbhaile Brady in fourth place.

After a silver and a bronze in Madeira, Hungary's Paralympic champion Bianka Pap got the gold medal she had been chasing for a week as she won her fourth consecutive women's 100m backstroke S10 title. The 24-year-old finished in 1:08.69 – half a second before runner-up Lisa Kruger from the Netherlands – as Anaelle Roulet from France finished in 1:09.30 to clinch bronze.

Italy ended the championships on top of the podium, finishing first in the mixed 4x100m freestyle relay 34pts final where France were second and Australia third.

All medallists, records and results of the Madeira 2024 Para Swimming European Open Championships are available here.