Allianz Para Swimming World Championships
31 July - 6 August

Manchester 2023: Fabulous Friday for Spain

Three golds for the Spaniards, a new world record for Ukraine and Italy back on top, all on day five of the Allianz Para Swimming World Championships 04 Aug 2023
A female swimmer in a competition
Sarai Gascon closed the mixed 4x100m medley relay 34pts to give Spain the third gold medal of the day in Manchester
ⒸAlex Livesey/Getty Images
By Emma Logan | For World Para Swimming

It was an emotional night for Spain as they experienced their most successful day yet, winning a golden hat-trick on Friday (4 August), day five of the Manchester 2023 Allianz Para Swimming World Championships. 

Marta Fernandez Infante showed she is going from strength-to-strength, as she completed her medal set with a gold in the women’s 50m freestyle S3 - she won silver in 150m individual medley SM3 and bronze in the 50m breaststroke SB3. 

The reigning champion, Antoni Ponce, meant business as he defended his world title in the men’s 100m breaststroke SB5. It was a familiar finish for Switzerland's Leo McCrea as he claimed another World Championships silver behind Ponce in this event. 

“This is my best result this season (1:26.8) and a new championship record. I’m happy to retain my title, two years in a row being world champion of this race,” said a delighted Antoni Ponce.

With sights already set on the next Paralympic Games, he said: “Paris 2024 is out there and I have to be strong in the breaststroke. It’s my main event and I want to be stronger but I still have two more races here in the World Championships and I hope to do good in the 200m and 100m freestyle.”

Perhaps saving the best until last, the Spanish squad were triumphant in the mixed 4x100m medley relay 34pts, closing the night with a bang. 

It was all to play for heading into the final 100m as five teams were in a line at the final handover. Sarai Gascon proved her skill and powered on to give Spain the edge over Italy and Brazil (second and third respectively). It was a European record for the Spanish quartet that consisted of Inigo Llopis Sanz, Anastasiya Dmytriv Dmytriv and Jose Antonio Mari Alcaraz and Gascon.

Ukraine's winning ways

It was another successful night for Ukraine as they sealed a set of five golds, one better than last night’s golden tally. 

It was the first gold medal of the meet for Anna Hontar though. After winning a silver in the women’s 100m freestyle S6 and two bronze medals in the 100m backstroke S6 and 100m breaststroke SB5, she finally took the world title. 

“I become stronger every year and I believe in myself. I want a new record, I want to prepare and work harder for the next competition [already].”

Hontar’s win did not just complete her medal set in Manchester but it also set a new world’s best time of 32.55. Compared to last night’s five new world records, this was the only one to fall on day five. 
Danylo Chufarov beat the reigning champion, Rogier Dorsman of the Netherlands, to win the men’s 100m freestyle S11. It was a convincing win for Chufarov, his second gold of the meet. 

Also collecting their second golds from this week was Andrii Trusiv and Oleksii Virchenko. Trusiv set a new championship record time (28.92) as he defended his crown in the men’s 50m butterfly S7, whilst teammate Virchenko was victorious in the Women’s 50m freestyle S13.

Hat-trick for Dadaon and Scholz

Israel's Ami Omer Dadaon and Germany's Tanja Scholz showed that they are the ones to beat as they both added another world title to their resume. 

Dadaon put on an impressive show in the men’s 50m freestyle S4, giving his own world record a good scare. The Israeli swimmer finished just 0.01 seconds outside his world best time which he set in Madeira last year. 

Germany’s golden girl, Scholz, sprinted to success in the women’s 50m freestyle S4, with a comfortable lead of 1.44 seconds ahead of Brazil’s Patricia Pereira dos Santos. 

Tanja Scholz, who was hugged by her husband Bjorn after the finish, said: “It was very difficult for me in March because of my health. I was really on the limit. And [now] that we're here again is really unbelievable. I have no idea how to do this. I really don't know. It's a magical moment right now.”

Expectations were high as Scholz came into this championship following a very successful 2022 season. Just before she dived into the pool this evening, her success was acknowledged as she was awarded the trophy for the winner of the 2022 Citi Para Swimming World Series in the top female overall athlete category. 

Scholz was not the only German to win gold on Friday, as Verena Schott got Germany off to a winning start.

Schott took to the water for the women’s 100m breaststroke SB5 with the fastest time in the world this year. She kept this top form as she sped to glory to take back the title that she previously won in 2015.   

Rogers races to victory

Faye Rogers did the home crowd proud when she delivered the goods by winning Great Britain’s first gold of the night. Her debut World Championships had already gotten off to a brilliant start, with bronze in both the women’s 200m individual medley SM10 and 400m freestyle S10. She was determined to finish top in her speciality event though, the women’s 100m butterfly S10, on day five. 

Rogers not only claimed the crown but she set a new European record in the morning heats, with a time of 1:05.54.

There was success for the host nation also in the women’s 200m individual medley SM14. The wall could not come sooner for Bethany Firth who touched in just 0.15 seconds ahead of Japan’s Aira Kinoshita, who set a new Asian record (2:24.32). Debutant Poppy Maskill joined teammate Firth on the podium, with bronze. 

A golden hat-trick for Italy sees them leapfrog China on the medals table. Stefano Raimondi (men's 100m Butterfly S10), Antonio Fantin (men’s 50m freestyle S6) and Simone Barlaam (men's 400m Freestyle S9) were all successful in their golden campaign. Italy now leads the table with 17 golds.

Brazil's Maria Carolina Santiago picked her fourth gold in the Manchester Aquatics Centre in the women’s 100m freestyle S12 while Cecilia Araujo bagged her third in the women’s 50m freestyle S8.

It was a golden night also for Australia (Lakeisha Patterson in the women's 400m freestyle S9 and Katja Dedekind in the women’s 50m freestyle S13), Greece (Dimosthenis Michalentzakils in the men’s 50m freestyle S8), Canada (Danielle Dorris in the women’s 50m butterfly S7 and Nicholas Bennett in the men’s 200m individual medley SM14), Azerbaijan (Raman Salei in the men’s 100m freestyle S12) and the Netherlands (Liesette Bruinsma in the women’s 100m freestyle S11). 

Complete results and all medallist of the Manchester 2023 Allianz Para Swimming World Championships can be found here.

Manchester 2023 heats and finals are being streamed live on World Para Swimming website and Facebook channel with geo-blocking restrictions in certain territories – you can find more information about where to watch the competition here. Pictures from Manchester 2023 are available for editorial use on Flickr.