Petracek breaks nine-year-old backstroke world record

The S4 swimmer lowered the 50m backstroke time of Mexico’s Juan Reyes set at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games. 30 Apr 2017
Male swimmer celebrates on pool deck

Czech Republic's Arnost Petracek celebrates winning the gold medal in the men's 50m backstroke S4 Final at Rio 2016.

ⒸGetty Images

“This morning, I cruised the heats to see what I had left for the finals. I’m happy with the time, I wish I would have gone a bit quicker but there’s room for improvement.”

Czech Republic’s Paralympic champion Arnost Petracek stormed to a new men’s 50m backstroke S4 world record in the last race of the World Para Swimming World Series in Sheffield, Great Britain, on Sunday (30 April)

A jubilant Petracek screamed in disbelief when he realised he had broken the nine-year-old mark of Mexico’s Juan Reyes, set at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games. A phenomenal swim saw him touch in at 42.22 seconds, .49 faster than the previous best.

Petracek (S4, 1,035 points) also won his mixed-class race with Great Britain’s Andrew Mullen (S5, 775) to take his second victory of the competition.

Great Britain’s Thomas Hamer squeezed out the win over Hong Kong’s Paralympic champion Wai Lok Tang in the men’s 200m freestyle.

Eighteen-year-old Hamer had to settle for silver at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games but this time he had the edge on Tang.

It finished a great meet for the teenager who set a new European record in the 100m freestyle heats on Thursday (27 April).

Hamer (953) held on to the win after a surge from 19-year-old Tang (926) in the second half of the race, adding the latest chapter to a growing rivalry between the two young S14 swimmers.

“I feel really happy with that,” Hamer said. “This morning, I cruised the heats to see what I had left for the finals. I’m happy with the time, I wish I would have gone a bit quicker but there’s room for improvement.”

Hamer’s teammate Jordan Catchpole (871) also an S14 athlete, was third.

Great Britain’s Paralympic champion Bethany Firth (S14, 947) finished on top of a tough women’s intellectually impaired field in the 200m freestyle, her first win of the meet.

Compatriot and Rio 2016 silver medallist Jessica Jane Applegate (868) was second, ahead of Sweden’s Pernilla Lindberg (740)

“That was quite hard! I think because training has been hard coming back from Rio but I was happy with it. I like racing Jess [Applegate] and she’s good to race,” Firth said.

The USA’s Rebecca Meyers (S13, 877) reached the top of her third podium in Sheffield in the women’s 400m freestyle.

World and Paralympic champion Meyers once again showed her excellent form in the World Championships season, having also claimed wins at the first World Series in Copenhagen, Denmark in March.

Two British swimmers followed her as European bronze medallist Eleanor Robinson (S6, 806) and Maisie Summers-Newton (S6, 740) took second and third respectively.

Uzbekistan’s Paralympic podium finisher Dmitriy Khorlin (S12, 936) also completed a trio of wins in the men’s 400m freestyle.

British teammates Lewis White (S9, 830) and Jacob Leach (S8, 813) were second and third respectively.

In the women’s 50m backstroke Germany’s Peggy Sonntag (S5, 368) led the field. Canada’s Tammy Cunnington (S4, 283) was second ahead of Japan’s Yuki Omukai (S3, 124) in third.

Full results are available.

The World Series takes in some of the biggest Para swimming competitions around the world ahead of the 2017 World Para Swimming Championships in Mexico City, from 30 September-6 October.

Editions in Copenhagen, Denmark and Sao Paulo, Brazil, have already taken place. After Sheffield, Indianapolis, USA; and Berlin, Germany, will host events in June and July respectively.

Records are subject to ratification by World Para Swimming.