Madeira 2024: Double delight for Taliso Engel on day two

German retains European title in the evening after breaking world record in the morning heat, as Ukraine closes the gap to Italy on the top of the medals table; Ireland, Switzerland and France take their first gold in Portugal 22 Apr 2024
A man showing his gold medal on a podium
Germany's Taliso Engel retained his European title in the men's 100m breaststroke SB13
ⒸPaloma Gutierrez/WPS
By AMP Media | For World Para Swimming

Germany's Taliso Engel broke the first world record of the 2024 Para Swimming European Open Championships as Ukraine dominated the second day of action in Madeira, Portugal, on Monday (22 April).

Paralympic champion Engel, who has dominated the 100m breaststroke SB13 in recent years with three consecutive world titles, crushed the world record in the heats and made no mistake in the final to retain his title from 2021. Just 0.47 shy of his record time of 1:02.22 from a few hours before, the 21-year-old was a class above everybody else, claiming the victory 4.27 seconds before runner-up Thomas van Wanrooij from the Netherlands as Uzbekistan's Firdavsbek Musabekov finished third, one hundredth of a second behind.

”I didn’t expect to swim this fast in the morning. First lane was very easy I would say,” Engel said, with a big smile, about the fact he broke a world record swimming in lane one. ”I was six weeks out of training as I had a surgery in October, I had really hard time but now I am coming back.”

Ukraine close the gap to Italy

Much of the second day of competing on the Portuguese island was about Ukraine, who came closer to Italy in the overall medal standings.

Andrii Trusov, who won the men's 200m individual medley SM7 final on Sunday, made it two gold medals in two days as he claimed the victory in the men's 400m freestyle S7. Turkey's Turgut Aslan Yaraman had been in the lead for the entire race until the last length of the pool when Trusov made a powerful push in the last turn to retain his title in 4:36.47. Yaraman, with a lifetime best, had to settle for a bronze medal, 2.35 seconds behind the winner, as Italy's Federico Bicelli took the silver in 4:37.44.

European record holder Yaroslav Semenenko was the man to beat in the men's 50m backstroke S5 but there the Ukrainian made no mistake. After a strong start, Semenenko led the final from start to finish to claim his third consecutive European title in the event. Antoni Ponce Bertran from Spain took silver, 2.17 seconds behind him, as neutral athlete Kirill Pulver clinched the bronze medal 4.32 seconds after the winner.

Iryna Poida, who had won the 50m freestyle S5 gold medal on Sunday night, also made it a Madeira 2024 double as she did it again in the 50m backstroke S5. The 25-year-old, who finished in 43.54, showed why she is the queen of the sprints, coming from behind to make a strong finish with plenty of arm power. Turkey's Sevilay Ozturk and Sumeyye Boyaci in second and third position respectively, Ozturk missing the gold medal by 1.11 second.

Roisin Ni Riain clinched Ireland's first gold medal of the championships as she won a tight women's 100m breaststroke SB13 final. With a strong finish, Ni Riain upgraded her 100m butterfly S13 bronze medal from Sunday to a victory, keeping Spain's runner-up Marian Polo Lopez 0.97 second behind. Neutral athlete Mariia Latritskaia took bronze.

“That was a pretty good swim, happy with the time and a great race. I always think the hundred breaststroke is a fun one for me just to get out and race. I love the event so I’m very pleased with that,” Ni Riain said.

Another swimmer to improve on her result from the first day of competition was Switzerland's Nora Meister, who had had to settle for a second place in the women's 100m backstroke S6 on Sunday as Germany's Verena Schott was too strong. Finishing in 1:15.31 in Monday's 100m freestyle S6 final, the 21-year-old, who won bronze at the World Championships last year, could climb to the top of the podium, taking the gold medal 2.85 seconds before runner-up Grace Harvey from Great Britain as Evelin Szaraz from Hungary took bronze.

Dutch and Spanish fiesta

Lisa Kruger from the Netherlands made an outstanding performance in the women's 200m individual medley SM10. After a strong start in the butterfly swimming, the 23-year-old got a big lead and never slowed down. With strong backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle swimming, Kruger made it impossible for any opponents to get closer, taking the gold medal in 2:29.51 – more than five seconds before runner-up Tatyana Lebrun from Belgium. Bianca Pap from Hungary finished third.

Kruger's teammate Rogier Dorsman added another gold medal to his Madeira 2024 tally as he won the men's 100m butterfly S11 in 1:03.00. Czech David Kratochvil clinched the silver medal as Ukraine's Mykhailo Serbin finished third after the world record holder Danylo Chufarov had pulled out of the race.

Spain also had a good Monday in the pool as pre-race favourite Inigo Llopis Sanz retained his title in the men's 100m backstroke S8, adding another European gold medal to the world title that he won last year. Mark Malyar from Israel claimed he silver medal 1.32 second behind as Ukraine's Bohdan Hrynenko completed the podium.

Spain had three swimmers among the first four in the women's 200m medley SM9 final, which Nuria Marques Soto, on top of the world rankings, won. Hungary's Zsofia Konkoly pushed her hard and touched the wall 0.64 of a second to take the silver medal as Spain's Sarai Gascon and Anastasia Dmytriv Dmytriv finished third and fourth place respectively.

Spain closed the second day of competitions at Madeira 2024 as Luis Huerta Poza, Leyre Orti Campos, Marta Fernandez Infante and Antoni Ponce Bertran took the victory in the mixed 4x50m freestyle relay 20pts final, finishing 0.85 of a second before runners-up Italy as Ukraine took bronze.

Italy top the overall table with 20 medals, of which nine are gold. World record holder Antonio Fantin from Italy has dominated the men's 100m freestyle S6 for half a decade and the three-time world champion, Paralympic and European champion, delivered when it mattered in the final to retain his title. 

The 22-year-old clocked in at 1:03.04 and almost looked disappointed to be 0.34 of a second from his world record, but got the job done finishing 3.42 seconds before silver medallist Laurent Chardard from France. In a close battle for the second place, Thijs van Hofweegen from the Netherlands had to settle for a bronze as he touched the wall seven hundreds of a second behind Chardard.

Two-time world champion Stefano Raimondi from Italy also continued to contribute to the strong Italian start of the championships. The 26-year-old led the men's 200m individual medley SM10 final from start to finish to claim his second gold medal in two days after his 100m breaststroke SB9 title on Sunday. Raimondi's teammate Riccardo Menciotti finished second, 1.19 behind, to make it an Italian one-two as neutral athlete Artem Isaev clinched the bronze medal.

British teammates Mark Tompsett and William Ellard battled it out for the gold medal in the men's 100m backstroke S14 final. In his first race of the championships, Tompsett finished 0.12 second before Sunday's  200m freestyle S14 winner Ellard, who had to settle for a silver in Great Britain's one-two. Marc Evers, from the Netherlands, took the bronze just over a second behind the winner.

France won their two first gold medals of the championships on Monday as Ugo Didier made a strong backstroke in the men's 200m individual medley SM9 and managed to keep his opponents behind him for the remainder of the race to retain his title. The 22-year-old showed he will be in the battle for medals at the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, finishing 1.82 before his teammate Hector Denayer, 18, who made it a French one-two as neutral athlete Andrei Kalina took bronze.

Before that, France's 18-year-old superstar Dimitri Granjux tops the world ranking in the men's 150m individual medley SM3 and was the favourite to win the final after a dominant display in the qualifiers, where he was the only swimmer to go below the three-minute mark. Josia Tim Alexander Topf from Germany gave him a run for the money, finishing in 2:58.30, but Granjux, with a strong finishing freestyle, was more than five seconds faster, taking the gold medal in 2:53.13 as Umut Unlu from Turkey clinched the bronze.

Complete schedule, results and medallists from Madeira 2024 can be found here.