The Berlin 2021 World Series saw the 34-year-old of Cyprus excel during her first competition in the S11 class, setting three world records.
Pelendritou, a three-time world champion and a two-time Paralympic champion in the women’s 100m breaststroke SB13, showed ideal form with her fifth Paralympic appearance coming up.
“It is the first time I’m competing as S11 swimmer. My vision is getting worse and I still didn’t practice much,” she said about her preparations for Berlin 2021.
“I still have to adapt to this new class and to the fact that I must use the tapper all the time. It’s a new experience and a big change. I was very nervous and anxious for my first race here.”
The multiple world champion used those nerves and adrenaline for an impressive performance, however. That performance started off in the heats, where she lowered the women’s 50m breaststroke SB11 mark to 36.55 seconds.
In the evening Pelendritou followed up with world record number two by clocking an S11 best in the 50m freestyle final (30.20). Just an hour later she came back to improve her 50m breaststroke SB 11 record to 36:13, taking her second gold and third world record of the event.
“I did not expect all these results and world records, I am really happy and satisfied. My next stop is Tokyo and hopefully I can medal there,” Pelendritou said.
World record on home soil
On the men’s side, Germany’s Taliso Engel secured a world record on home soil in the men’s 50m breaststroke SB13 as he stopped the clock after 29.26 seconds. As Pelendritou, he did not expect to swim this fast in the lead up to Tokyo.
“I am not training as much as I usually do because of school and didn’t expect to break records. I had a lot of stress lately, but I am super happy with today,” he said.
The talented German swimmer just turned 19 this month and was surprised by his performances in Berlin. “This is a good [birthday] present; my times are great at the moment. I am so excited and I can’t wait to swim in Tokyo. It will be my first Paralympic Games and I feel great.”
In the same event, Spain’s Antoni Ponce broke the men’s 50m breaststroke world record in the SB5 class both in the heats and in the final (39.38).
Dutch swimmer Rogier Dorsman is also looking forward to his first Paralympic Games after setting a 2:20.40 world record in the men’s 200m individual medley SM11.
“It’s great to swim a world record and it’s a step forward. Hopefully we can take an even bigger step in Tokyo at my first Games,” Dorsman said.
Mexico was also responsible for one world record in the German capital with 21-year-old Marcos Zarate in the men’s 200m medley SM3 with 4:19:48.
More gold for Dadaon and Lu
Israeli swimmer Ami Dadaon once again showed form in Berlin as he bagged his third gold medal on the final day of competition. After taking the title in the 200m freestyle and 100m freestyle S4 earlier this week, he now claimed victory in the men’s 50m freestyle S4. Besides taking the win, he also set a new European record in 37.38.
Dadaon was not the only Israeli swimmer to bag gold during the final days of competition as his teammate Mark Malyar clinched the title in the men’s 400m freestyle.
China’s Dong Lu added a second gold medal to her tally, claiming victory in the 50m butterfly S5. After she previously took home the 50m backstroke gold, Dong Lu now seized 50m butterfly gold in a new area record (41.54).
Her teammate Jia Ma took gold in the women’s 200m individual medley SM11, while Weiyi Yuan topped the standings in the men’s 50m butterfly S5.
For most swimmers, the Berlin 2021 World Series was the last chance to test themselves against some of the world’s top swimmers before the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Full results of the Berlin 2021 World Series can be found here.