Multiple medals for Spanish swimmers including returning legend Teresa Perales and up-and-coming swimmer Sarai Gascon at August’s 2014 IPC Swimming European Championships in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, enters the Top 50 Moments of 2014 at No. 31.
Six-time S5 Paralympic champion Perales, returning to the pool after illness, left her competitors in no doubt that she is still someone to fear ahead of the 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships in Glasgow, Great Britain, from 13-19 July.
With four gold and three silver medals at Eindhoven 2014, the 38-year-old rolled back the years to show the world that a sporting legend is back. Having never won a World Championships gold, Perales also claimed that 2014 was just a baseline year ahead of 2015 and Rio 2016.
“This is not my best year. It probably won’t be my best races but I don’t mind,” she said. “Next year is the World Championships and I will try to do better.
“I think, and I hope, that I can still bring my times down. I have done a lot of work in May and June, concentrated in two months. It has not been as good as I would like but I think I have done what I can.”
Adding to a great year for Perales, even before she had got back in the pool to compete, Juan Carlos I rewarded a career packed with achievements, presenting Perales with the Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Sporting Merit in April.
Meanwhile Sarai Gascon joined her teammate in the medal rankings, cementing her place as a national star at Eindhoven 2014.
It did not take the 22-year-old long to steal the stage, equalling South African Natalie Du Toit’s eight-year-old women’s 50m freestyle S9 world record of 29.04 seconds, and at the same time smashing her own European record.
Gascon picked up her first European titles, recording two gold medal finishes, whilst also sealing four further medals to ensure she continues to make an impression on the international stage.
Adding to Gascon and Perales’s success, Michele Alonso Morales picked up gold in the women’s 100m breaststroke S14 and Deborah Font won the women’s 400m freestyle S13.
In the men’s events Sebastian Rodriguez got three golds of his own, whilst the likes of Ricardo Ten and Israel Oliver also won their very first European golds.
All of these performances taken together meant that Spain left Eindhoven 2014 with a total of 48 medals, including 15 golds, and fourth place in the medals table, with their rivals on notice with under two years to go until Rio 2016.