World records crumble in Berlin

Main players set the bar high ahead of Swimming World Championships in August. 28 May 2013
A picture of women in the pool touching the wall with their hands

Sarah Louise Rung of Norway touches the wall ahead of Spanish Teresa Perales to win gold in the Women’s 50m Butterfly - S5 on London 2012 Paralympics

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By Matt Wordingham | For the IPC

"I had my goals in this tournament, but not to break the Brazilian or world record!”

The crowd at the German International Championships in Berlin this weekend (23-26 May) were showered with broken world records inside the Europa Sports Park ahead of the 2013 Swimming World Championships in Montreal, Canada in August.

Home-favourite Daniela Schulte got the event off to a flying start with a world record in just the second race of the championships. The 30-year-old, who was representing PSC Berlin - an association which promotes elite sport for people with and without disabilities, secured a time of 10:57.82 to win the multiclass women’s 800m freestyle.

Schulte’s confidence was high and in the women’s 50m backstroke final on the following day she secured her second world record of the championships with a time of 00:36.49. The event in Berlin proved to be great preparation and has placed down a marker to her rivals ahead of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Swimming World Championships.

One of the tightest contests in Berlin was the final of the women’s 200m freestyle with four competitors separated by just three points. Schulte and Norwegian Sarah Louise Rung’s times both warranted a point total of 874 to force a dead heat for first place. Just two points behind was Australian Kara Leo following her impressive time of 2:17.87 with Swedish teenager Pemilla Lindberg narrowly finishing in fourth place.

Brazilian Daniel Dias looks set to dominate in the pool at the World Championships in Montreal, after provisionally beating his own 100m butterfly S5 world record on the opening day with a time of 1:17.70. His previous time of 1:20.23 was set less than a year ago in London.

The 25-year old, who won six gold medals at London 2012, was competing in Berlin as part of his preparations for the World Championships, which will take place from 12-18 August.

Fellow Brazilian and IPC One to Watch, Andre Brasil, celebrated his 29th birthday on Thursday (23rd May), by setting a provisional world record in the men’s 50m backstroke final.

Brasil was confident ahead of the event in Berlin but wasn’t expecting to swim as fast as he did.

He said: “Swimming needs frequent competitions for swimmers to evaluate their own level and gives us the opportunity to race against world level athletes. I had my goals in this tournament, but not to break the Brazilian or world record!”

Despite not breaking any world records Norwegian Sarah Louise Rung, another of the IPC’s Ones to Watch heading to Montreal, put in a number of impressive performances. Rung beat Schulte by 134 points in the women’s 400m freestyle final and Schulte’s German companion Kirstin Bruhn in the 50m breaststroke final.

A number of Australian swimmers also had a memorable few days in Berlin. Most notably, Sarah Hilt set four area records in the first three days of the competition in the 100m backstroke heat, 50m freestyle heat, 100m freestyle heat and 50m breaststroke heat. The Aussies took home 11 medals in total.

The 2013 IPC Swimming World Championships will feature around 650 athletes from 60 countries, making it the biggest gathering of international athletes since London 2012.