A series of youngsters put in strong performances at the 2016 IPC Swimming European Open Championships on Tuesday (3 May), heading into the finals as some of the fastest qualifiers in Funchal, Portugal.
British teenager Rebecca Redfern (1:17.52) went through as the quickest in the women’s 100m breaststroke SB13. Redfern, 16, set a new world record in the event just one week ago and will be hoping to add the title at her first European Championships.
She sent a clear message to her rivals for the final: “I’m very happy with the time and I’m just going to smash it in the final,” Redfern said.
Germany’s defending champion Elena Krawzow (1:18.19) was second as Uzbekistan’s Shokhasanamkhon Toshpulatova, 18, set her third Asian record in as many days with a 1:19.50 swim to qualify third.
Sixteen-year-old Spaniard Nuria Marques Soto (1:11.42) looks good to win her second gold of the Championships in the women’s 100m butterfly S9.
“Let’s see how it goes this afternoon,” Soto said. “I think I can give much more. I will try to give as much as I can and achieve my best mark.”
Following Soto into the final in second is another youngster, Hungary’s Zsofia Konkoly (1:11.99) competing at her first Euros at the age of 14. Spain’s reigning champion Sarai Gascon (1:12.28) did enough to qualify in third.
Brazil’s world and Paralympic champion Daniel Dias (2:45.47) made good use of his first individual race of the week in the men’s 200m freestyle SM5, qualifying fastest.
“I’m very happy with the race and this afternoon I hope to be even better,” Dias said.
However French 16-year-old Theo Curin (2:47.41) will be hot on his heels with Great Britain’s European champion Andrew Mullen (2:53.96). The pair head through second and third fastest respectively.
Dias’s compatriot Phelipe Rodrigues (24.02) qualified fastest in the men’s 50m freestyle S10 ahead of Russian European champion Dmitry Grigoryev (24.58). Brazil’s world and Paralympic champion Andre Brasil executed a controlled race to also make it through to the final.
Colombia’s Carlos Serrano (2:42.39) was quickest in the men’s 200m individual medley SM7. The 17-year-old will face Germany’s Tobias Pollap (2:46.87) and Ukraine’s Paralympic, world and European champion Yevheniy Bohodayko (2:48.22) in the final as the next two fastest.
Serrano’s world champion teammate Nelson Crispin (1:09.91) put himself in pole position in the men’s 100m freestyle S6, ahead of Dutchman Thijs van Hofweegen (1:10.71).
Azerbaijan’s Dzmitry Salei (1:08.80) qualified fastest in the men’s 100m breaststroke SB12, in front of Russia’s Artur Saifutdinov (1:09.06). Kazakhstan’s Anuar Akhmetov (1:10.12) set a new Asian record to secure the third fastest time.
Russia had three swimmers who qualified fastest in their heats.
Multiple Paralympic and Worlds medallist Olesya Vladykina set herself up perfectly to take her second gold of the Championships as the fastest from the women’s 200m individual medley SM8.
Her teammate Nina Ryabova (28.30) led the women’s 50m freestyle S10 heat in front of Canada’s Aurelie Rivard (28.46) and France’s Elodie Lorandi (28.75).
“It was a morning swim so I didn’t go very hard,” Rivard said. “It’s a good morning swim so I’m excited to for the final and I’m looking forward to going faster.”
World champion Natalia Gavrilyuk (1:05.34) will try for her first gold in the women’s 50m breaststroke SB3, leading Ukraine’s Olga Sviderska (1:07.32) and Italy’s Arjola Trimi (1:07.73) into second and third respectively.
Great Britain’s Worlds gold medallist Jessica-Jane Applegate (1:08.04) will take on Russia’s European champion Valeriia Shabalina (1:08.13) after a close women’s 100m backstroke S14 heat between the two.
“I’m very happy with that race and the heat time,” Applegate said. “It wasn’t a max effort so I’m really happy with that. Hopefully I can go a little bit faster but I’m really happy with my heat time so if I can go faster than that I’ll be really happy.”
Paralympic and world champion Sarah Louise Rung (2:56.58) is searching for her third consecutive gold as the fastest qualifier in the women’s 200m freestyle S5. Israel’s Inbal Pezaro (2:58.84) was second and Spain’s five-time Paralympian Teresa Perales (3:13.44) third.
“I’m pleased with my morning swim race. I said to my trainer I was hoping to do about this time and I think I have more to give for the finals after some rest,” Rung said.
Ukraine’s world and European gold medallist Yelyzaveta Mereshko (1:13.05) was lightning quick in the women’s 100m freestyle S6 after winning gold in the 200m individual medley on Monday (2 May).
Mereshko explained her race simply, but effectively: “I tried to do some good work this morning and in the evening I will do much better.”
Ukraine’s Oleksii Fedyna (1:05.36) will lead Belarus’s Ihar Boki (1:07.81) into the final of the men’s 100m breaststroke SB13, his “favourite event.” Russia’s Maksim Nikiforov (1:07.86) was third.
Hungarian Paralympic title holder Tamas Sors (1:01.52) just edged Italy’s European champion Federico Morlacchi (1:01.63) to set-up an exciting final in the men’s 100m butterfly S9.
Denmark’s Niels Korfitz Mortensen (2:32.72) will be hoping to improve on his bronze medal from 2014 in the men’s 200m individual medley SM8.
“It was ok for a morning race. I was one tenth over my PB so hopefully I can get there in the final,” Mortensen said.
Austria’s Andreas Onea (2:34.00) qualified second with Great Britain’s Paralympic world and European champion Oliver Hynd (2:36.88) third.
European champion Miguel Luque will also represent the Spanish as the quickest from the men’s 50m breaststroke SB3.
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