Paralympic Games
7-18 September

Rio 2016 swimming flashquotes

Race reactions from the athletes direct from the Olympics Aquatics Stadium. 17 Sep 2016
Bethany Firth (R) of Great Britain is embraced by Marlou van der Kulk (L) of the Netherlands after winning the gold medal in the Women's 100m Backstroke

Bethany Firth (R) of Great Britain is embraced by Marlou van der Kulk (L) of the Netherlands after winning the gold medal in the Women's 100m Backstroke


Flashquotes from the heats and finals of swimming at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.


Athletes’ reactions will be updated after each session of heats and finals.


Swimming runs until 17 September. Live results and coverage are available at alongside IPC Swimming’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@Paraswimming).


Day 10 - 17 September



Comments from Hannah RUSSELL (GBR) after winning gold in the women's 50m freestyle S12 at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on Saturday.

Hannah RUSSELL (GBR) - gold

On finishing her programme with a gold:

"I'm relieved. That's my last event. I wanted to put in a solid swim and I was able to do that tonight."

On building on her Games success at London 2012:

"In London I won silver and two bronze, here two golds and a bronze. So I've stepped it up, so I'm happy."

On coming to Rio with an open mind:

"Coming here I didn't know what to expect. I had a few events combined and had to swim up a class and then I had the two sprint events. I just wanted to come here and show myself what I could do."

On getting to watch some swimming before competing:

"I started racing on day seven so I was on the back end of the meet. I've loved the whole atmosphere, cheering on the other athletes and my team. And then being able to perform and do my part for the team."

Comments from Lorenzo PEREZ ESCALONA (CUB) after winning gold in the men's 100m freestyle S6 at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on Saturday.

Lorenzo PEREZ ESCALONA (CUB) - gold

On the significance of the medal for Cuba:

"This is a historic result for Cuban Paralympic swimming because it is the first gold medal in Cuban swimming at the Paralympic Games. This medal represents the pride of all Cubans that I am representing here with dignity. I came here with all my effort, with all my being to be able to represent well this incredible family, the incredible revolution, which has forged me into the way that I am as a person and as an athlete."

On winning his first Paralympic gold medal:

"It is a unique experience. It is the maximum dream of any para-athlete to participate in the Paralympic Games and to get a medal. There can't be a better dream. This achievement requires lots of time, discipline, and effort. This gold is the fruit of all my sacrifice."

On the expectations placed on him as a world record holder in the event:

"Even if I had no medal, or had won silver or bronze, the Cuban people would be as proud of me as if I had won the gold."

On breaking the Paralympic record and his ambitions to break his own world record:

"In Toronto (2015 Parapan Games) the record was there for five years before I broke it. But the way I see it, I will try to compete and break my record as soon as possible. I want this to be a way to motivate my teammates and inspire them to get medals as well."

On waiting until the final day of competition for his signature race:

"It was a big torture to have to wait until the last day. I wish I could have competed earlier. I had to suffer a lot as I watched other Cuban swimmers compete and not get medals. I saw their tears and their suffering as well, and I knew that I could swim and get this medal for them."

Comments from Maksym VERAKSA (UKR) after winning gold in the men's 50m freestyle S12 at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on Saturday.

Maksym VERAKSA (UKR) - gold

On winning a gold in the event for a third consecutive Paralympic Games:

"It is interesting to win when you're already 32 (years old) and it's like you're telling yourself, 'I still can'. You are proving to yourself that you can do it and here I proved to myself that I'm not worse than the youngsters who are stepping on my heels.

"You become a bit more casual about winning. The first Paralympics it was like a firework, like this turbulent explosion. In the second, I was a bit older and the emotions were calmer, and now it is interesting - interesting that at this age I can still win."

On attempts to break the world record he set at the distance in 2009:

"I have had this ambition for a long time. I want to do it, of course, and I got close in 2013 - I got 23.36 - but I could not beat it. It's a strong record for me, but I want to go even faster so that I get to feel as if I'm flying over water."

On the inspiration from his three-year-old daughter Zlata:

"She will get all the mascots. She is really anticipating for me to come back and she sends me her greetings every day.

"She says, 'Daddy, I love you', and even though she's just three, she already learned to say, 'Daddy, I love you, be No.1'. I get all these emotions from the messages and I am energised with this positive energy."

On the reason behind the success of Ukrainian Paralympians at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games:

"There is a system in place. That's the most important thing. You know what you'll be doing tomorrow and after you retire from sport. There is a well-planned system on all levels."

Comments from swimmer Ihar BOKI (BLR) after he won the S13 men's 100m backstroke final at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on Saturday.

Ihar BOKI (BLR) - gold

On finishing the Rio 2016 competition by winning his sixth gold medal of the Games:

"There is a feeling of lightness because I did so much work to achieve this. I'm happy that I was able to have decent results in this competition, and that I was able to stay strong. All of these 10 days were very difficult and I had to swim a race almost every day.

"I wanted to go out and just show the results that I am capable of right now. I came out here and I showed that and apparently that was enough to get the gold medals."

On missing out on gold only in the men's 100m breaststroke, in which he took bronze:

"I am the happiest with my breaststroke because we were completely not expecting a medal.

"For me, the bronze was my best medal here because it is a big achievement personally that I was able to get this result in this swimming style."

On the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games:

"I'm not planning ahead for anything at the moment. Right now I just want to rest."

Comments from Bethany FIRTH (GBR) after she won gold in the women's 200m individual medley SM14 at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on Saturday night.

Bethany FIRTH (GBR) - gold

On her performance:

"To get under 2:20 was a goal of mine and I did it. I have been training so hard after breaking my wrist before the worlds (2015 world championships) and seeing the girls do so well, it really motivated me."

On whether she expected to win three gold medals:

"It was always in the back of my mind, I am not going to lie. I have been going away on training camps, doing things I am not used to, I am more of a stay at home and do my thing kind of person. But it's all been worthwhile."

On what she is going to do as soon as she gets home:

"I am longing to get to see my dog, Russell, to get licked and kissed. He is a miniature Yorkie, he is so gorgeous. I can't wait."