World Series 2023: Didier steals the show despite host domination in USA

French swimmer clinches five gold medals while US swimmers led by Paralympic star Elizabeth Marks grab 38 medals in Minneapolis 24 Apr 2023
France's Ugo Didier topped the podium in at least one event every day during the USA 2023 in the University of Minnesota.
France's Ugo Didier topped the podium in at least one event every day during the USA 2023 in the University of Minnesota.
ⒸJayme Halbritter / US Paralympic Swimming
By Victor Pereira | For World Para Swimming

Home swimmers dominated the Citi Para Swimming World Series USA 2023 picking up the maximum number of medals, but it was France's Ugo Didier who stole the limelight to clinch five gold medals as the fourth leg of the competition concluded in Minneapolis on Sunday (22 April).

Team USA grabbed 38 out of 72 medals at stake making the hosts the most victorious nation led by two-time Paralympic champion Elizabeth Marks. The class S6 swimmer shone with triple gold medals in the University of Minnesota in the women's 100m freestyle, 50m butterfly and 200m individual medley. 

In the 200m medley, which was an edge-of-the-seat finals, Marks was tied for the top spot with her teammate Olivia Chambers (S13), both with 953 points, in a podium sweep for USA. Two-time Paralympic medallist Colleen Young (S13) took third place. 

USA dominated in several other women’s events including the 100m butterfly where Elizabeth Smith (S9) grabbed the gold, followed by Jessica Long (S8) and Mikaela Jenkins (S10). 

In the 400m freestyle, two-time Paralympic champion Morgan Stickney (S7) topped the podium alongside her countrywomen McKenzie Coan (S7) in second and Olivia Chambers (S13) in third.

The 100m backstroke honours were shared by Christie Raleigh-Crossley (S9), Hannah Aspden (S9) and Elizabeth Smith (S9).

Golden Didier

Despite the USA podium dominance, the spotlight in the University of Minnesota was on French swimmer Ugo Didier (S9), who displayed ominous form to top the podium at least once a day during the three-day competition. 

Didier triumphed in the men's 50m, 100m and 400m freestyle in addition to 100m backstroke and 200m medley. He  also added a bronze to his medal count in the men's 100m breaststroke at USA 2023.

Among other visitors, Paralympic champions Nely Miranda Herrera, Arnulfo Castorena, and Maria Carolina Santiago were also at the top of podium.

Mexico’s Herrera (S4) won the women’s 150 medley and the 50m breaststroke while her countryman Castorena (S2) picked the win in the men’s 50m breastroke.

Brazil’s Santiago (S12) collected three medals, one of each colour as she won the women’s 50m freestyle, finished second in the 100m breaststroke, and get a bronze in the 100m freestyle.

Full results from the three-day meet in Minneapolis, USA can be found here.*

Next stop - Singapore

After three days in Minneapolis, USA, the Citi Para Swimming World Series travels to Singapore for the fifth leg of the World Series from 29 April to 1 May.

Germany and France will welcome the event in May while Mexico will host the World Series in October with a final stop yet to be confirmed in November.

The competition already passed through Melbourne, Australia in February, Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy and Sheffield, Great Britain.

In the Citi Para Swimming World Series, athletes take part in multi-class races and their results in each series are calculated using a standardised World Para Swimming points system. At the end of a World Series’ season, the best female and male swimmers are awarded based on their rankings. 

Last year, Colombia’s Carlos Serrano and Germany’s Tanja Scholz were the winners in male and female categories.