The 2018 World Para Swimming World Series is off to a stunning start after Great Britain’s Stephen Clegg broke the men’s 50m butterfly S12 world record on the opening night of heats in Copenhagen.
It was a good night for British swimmers, who qualified first in five of Friday’s six multi-class heats, but it was Clegg’s performance which was the most impressive.
Clegg stopped the clock in a time of 25.78 in the heats to beat the time he set at last year’s World Series event in Berlin, Germany.
The world record time saw the 22-year-old qualify first for Saturday’s final with a total of 931 points.
“I am really pleased with that,” said Clegg. “I have been working a lot in training on that event. It is a good start to the weekend. I am really looking forward to seeing how the rest of the weekend goes and how I perform in my other events.
“I will go and analyse the event to see where I can make some improvements for tomorrow’s final. I also have the 100m fly tomorrow. The 100m fly is probably my main event, so I am quite keen to see how I go in that one and to see what improvements I can make in my other events,” Clegg added.
Clegg was one of three British swimmers to qualify for the men’s 50m butterfly final, with Netherlands’ Thijs van den End (S9) separating the British pair of Andrew Mullen (S5) and James Hollis (S10), who qualified second and fourth respectively.
Great Britain’s Eleanor Robinson (S6) finished top in the heats in both the women’s 100m freestyle and 50m butterfly.
Robinson led the way in the women’s 100m freestyle with 971 points ahead of France’s Claire Supiot (S8), who celebrated her 50th birthday on Wednesday. But, a very competitive final is expected on Saturday night, with only 59 points separating the eight finalists.
Just over 45 minutes after qualifying top in the 100m freestyle, Robinson was back in the pool, in the heats of the women’s 50m butterfly. The 16-year-old was one of only two swimmers to pass 900 points, with Hungary’s Zsofia Konkoly (S9) qualifying in second, with 905 points.
Great Britain also led the way in the heats of the men’s 100m freestyle.
Thomas Hamer (S14) produced a strong swim in the opening heat to finish with 985 points, stopping the clock just 0.2 seconds off the S14 world record. The 19-year-old will line-up next to his compatriot Lewis White (S9) in the final after the European silver medallist qualified second to book Great Britain’s place in the middle two lanes.
The British pair will face a strong Dutch contingent in Saturday’s final, with Michiel Jorink (S14) recording the highest points total of four Netherlands swimmers who have qualified for the final.
Four swimmers passed 1,000 points in the heats of the women’s 100m breaststroke as Louise Fiddes (SB14) of Great Britain led the way with 1028 points. The Dutch pair of Chantalle Zijderveld (SB9) and Lisa Ruger (SB9) were separated by Norway’s Sarah Louise Rung (SB4), who qualified for the final in third with 1014 points.
The 100m breaststroke was Rung’s second event of the night, with the Paralympic champion also competing in the 100m freestyle earlier in the evening. The 28-year-old is competing in her first international competition since winning four medals at December’s World Championships in Mexico City.
“I am pleased with the 100m breaststroke,” Rung said. “I have something to work on after the 100m freestyle, but it is nice being in the pool racing again.
“It is something I have been looking forward to for some time now. It’s nice being here and competing again. And, of course, it’s always nice to see where I stand at the moment,” Rung added.
The final event of the night - the men’s 100m breaststroke – saw Duncan van Haaren (SB9) of the Netherlands set a points total of 977 to qualify first for Saturday’s final ahead of Great Britain’s Conner Morrison (SB14).
Van Haaren was one of three Dutch swimmers to qualify, with his compatriots Marc Evers and Tim van Duuren joining him in the final.
The competition continues on Saturday (3 March) with heats in the morning, followed by the first finals of the World Series.
Both sessions will be live streamed on World Para Swimming’s website , with full results available here.
All world records are subject to approval by World Para Swimming.