One world and seven Paralympic records were set in the pool at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games on Sunday (11 September), as swimmers opened the fourth day of competition in style.
China’s Liangkang Zou provided one of the highlights of the morning heats, setting a new world record in the men’s 200m freestyle S2.
His time of 3:49.37 propelled him into the finals, where he will go for his third gold of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Ukraine’s Serhii Palamarchuk (3:49.84) was second, with a European record. Zou’s teammate Benying Liu (4:00.02) was third.
Five British swimmers qualified fastest in their respective events, with the country getting to highlight the successful legacy of hosting the last Paralympics in London in 2012.
Germany’s Elena Krawzow and Great Britain’s Rebecca Redfern went head-to-head, albeit separately, in the women’s 100m breaststroke SB13 heats.
Krawzow (1:17.25) broke the Paralympic record in the first heat, swiftly followed by Redfern (1:17.08) in the second, to set-up a tantalising final.
The USA’s Colleen Young (1:19.10) was third.
The British duo of Paralympic gold medallist Jessica-Jane Applegate (2:07.95) and Bethany Firth will clash in the final of the women’s 200m freestyle S14, having both taken down the Paralympic record in their respective heats.
Applegate wiped more than four seconds off her own time from London 2012, before Firth (2:05.96) lowered it by nearly two more in the second heat. Sweden’s Pernilla Lindberg (2:13.74) was third quickest.
Amy Marren (2.37.01) led China’s Ping Lin in the women’s 200m individual medley SM9 heats. Lin’s time of 2:37.50 was a new Asian record. Spain’s triple Paralympian Sarai Gascon (2:37.71) was third. Australia’s Madeleine Scott set a new Oceanian record of 2:38.04 to also qualify.
Josef Craig (58.73) went quickest in the men’s 100m freestyle S8, ahead of China’s Paralympic champion Yinan Wang (59.03). Guanglong Yang (59.33), another Chinese swimmer, was third.
It was then the turn of Paralympic debutant Thomas Hamer, 18, to better the men’s 200m freestyle S14 Paralympic mark for Great Britain. Hamer (1:57.31) did so in the first heat. But he was swiftly followed by Australia’s London 2012 silver medallist Daniel Fox (1:57.19) in heat three.
Hong Kong’s Tang Wai Lok (1:57.44) impressed with a new Asian record to round-off the top three. The crowd went wild for Felipe Vila Real’s new Americas record of 2:01.11, which saw him into the final. Iceland’s Defending champion Jon Margeir Sverrisson looked disappointed with his race, but also went comfortably through for Iceland.
The USA’s Paralympic champion Jessica Long (1:06.07) will try to defend her women’s 100m freestyle S8 title – as she has done successfully at every Paralympics since Athens 2004.
The Australian pair of Lakeisha Patterson (1:07.45) and Maddison Elliott (1:07.69) were second and third respectively. Brazil’s Cecilia de Araujo, a 17-year-old athlete who has been involved in training workshops with the International Paralympic Committee’s development arm the Agitos Foundation, also qualified.
“It's my dream to make this time,” said de Araujo. “I thought it was impossible, but it's not impossible now because I did it. I was shy at first because the level of noise was very surprising.
“It was scary, but it’s very cool to get this support from the cariocas. During the race, I was very focused so I didn’t listen to the cheers, but at the end I fed off the energy.”
New Zealand’s Sophie Pascoe (2:27.44) is aiming for her second gold in 24 hours in the women’s 200m individual medley SM10 as the Paralympic title holder. Canada’s Aurelie Rivard (2:33.88) and the Netherlands’ Lisa Kruger (2:34.64) completed the top three.
Norwegian world champion Sarah Louise Rung (1:45.46) is primed to take her first Paralympic title as the fastest qualifier in the women’s 100m breaststroke SB4. Singapore’s Theresa Goh set a new Asian record of 1:54.50 to head through in second place, leading China’s Li Zhang (2:02.84).
Three Ukrainian swimmers will lead out their respective fields in tonight’s finals at the Aquatics Stadium.
World champion Denis Dubrov (2:09.23) broke the Paralympic record of Canada’s defending gold medallist Benoit Huot in the men’s 200m individual medley SM10. It was an all-Ukrainian top three with Dubrov joined by Maksym Krypak (2:11.88) and Dmytro Vanzenko (2:13.66). Huot also qualified.
Paralympic champion Oleksii Fedyna (1:04.98) placed himself in pole position to retain his title by going quickest in the men’s 100m breaststroke SB13. Uzbekistan’s Firdavsbeck Musabekov (1:05.38) was second and Belarus’ Ihar Boki (1:06.79) third as he searches for his third medal in as many races.
The Ukrainian duo of Viktoriia Savtsova (1:41.03) and Yelyzaveta Meresho (1:43.41) claimed the best lanes for the final in the women’s 100m breaststroke SB5. China’s Paralympic silver medallist Lingling Song (1:45.79) set a new Asian record to qualify third.
Swedish 19-year-old Karl Forsman (1:33.47) will lead South Korean Paralympic champion Woo Guen Lim (1:34.86) into the men’s 100m breaststroke SB5 final. Mexico’s Pedro Rangel (1:37.02) will be hoping to match or improve on his bronze from four years ago as the third fastest qualifier.
Australia’s Timothy Disken (2:18.86) went quickest in the men’s 200m individual medley SM9. Hungary’s Tamas Sors (2:18.97) followed close behind and Italian world champion Federico Morlacchi (2:20.15) also went comfortably through in third.
Live coverage and results of swimming is available at Paralympic.org. Live updates will also be posted to IPC Swimming’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.