Teresa Perales29 December 1975
- LATEST TRIUMPHS:
- Rio 2016 Paralympic Games - Gold: 50m backstroke; Silver: 100m and 200m freestyle and 200m individual medley
- 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships - Gold: 50m backstroke; Silver: 50m butterfly, 50m freestyle; Bronze: 200m individual medley
- 2016 IPC Swimming European Open Championships - Gold: 50m and 100m freestyle and 50m bacsktroke and 4x100m freestyle relay 34 points; Silver: 200m freestyle and 50m butterfly; Bronze: 200m individual medley and 4x50m medley relay 20 points; 2014 IPC Swimming European Championships - Gold: 100m freestyle, 50m freestyle, 100m backstroke, 4 x50m freestyle realy 20 points; Silver: 50m butterfly, 200m individual medley; 4 x 100m freestyle relay 34 points; 2011 IPC Swimming European Championships - Gold: 100m freestyle; Silver: 50m butterfly, 50m freestyle; 4x100m freestyle relay 34 points; Bronze: 100m freestyle; 200m individual medley, 4x50m medley relay 20 points
- London 2012 Paralympic Games - Gold: 100m freestyle; Silver: 50m freestyle, 200m freestyle, 50m butterfly; Bronze: 200m individual medley; 100m breaststroke
- Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games - Gold: 50m freestyle, 100m freestyle, 200m freestyle; Silver: 50m backstroke; Bronze: 100m backstroke
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Born in 1975, Perales started swimming at age 19, after developing neuropathy. Her first international appearance was in 1998 at the IPC Swimming World Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand, where she won a bronze medal in the 50m freestyle.
Just two years later, Perales made her Paralympic Games debut, winning a silver in the 50m butterfly and four bronze medals, in the 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle and the 50m backstroke at the Sydney 2000 Games.
Perales finished the World Championships in Mar del Plata, Argentina with a total of eight medals, but none of them were gold.
After her five medals in Sydney, Perales managed to improve this result at Athens 2004, adding two gold medals to her collection.
Being a double-Paralympic champion, Perales again could not secure that world title at the 2006 IPC Swimming World Championships in Durban, South Africa, finishing second in the 50m butterfly and third in the 50m freestyle and 50m backstroke.
Returning to the Paralympic Games stage two years later in Beijing, Perales put on her best performance yet, securing three Paralympic golds and breaking two world records. She won the gold medal in the 50m freestyle in a world-record time of 35.88, and in the 100m freestyle in the world record time of 1:16.65. One more silver medal followed in the 50m backstroke, and a bronze in the 100m breaststroke.
After Beijing, Perales, who was voted onto the IPC Athletes Council, took some time off the sport to give birth to her child before returning to the international stage in July 2011 at the IPC Swimming European Championships in Berlin. And what a come back she had, winning a total of eight medals, including one gold in the 100m freestyle, four silver and three bronze medals.
The London 2012 Paralympics were Perales' fourth Games, and she retained her 100m freestyle title for the third consecutive time.
For Rio 2016, Perales switched tactics and decided to focus on the 50m backstroke - an event which she had never won gold in despte many podium appearances. Having taken the world title in 2015 and European title in early 2016, Perales managed to claim her first Paralympic gold in the event in Rio.
Perales is still going strong in the pool, and remains one of the swimmers to beat in the S5 events chased by Norway's Sarah-Louise Rung.
Aside from her athletic exploits, Perales is an excellent advocate for the Paralympic Movement and speaks publicly about her experiences as a Para athlete to inspire the next generation.
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