BEIJING, China, September 15. THE 2008 Beijing Paralympics will go down as one of the fastest swim meets in history. More than 100 world-record performances occurred during the meet held in the Water Cube.
World-record holder Christos Tampaxis of Greece just missed his global standard with a time of 1:23.15 in the men's 50 back – S1. He previously set the world record with a 1:21.25 in April. Teammate Andreas Katsaros took second in 1:44.53, while Portugal's Joao Martins finished third in 1:47.76.
Dmitry Kokarev of Russia won his third individual gold, and fourth medal overall, with a world-record time of 1:03.17 in the men's 50 back – S2. The finish cleared the 1:04.43 set by Curtis Lovejoy of the U.S. back in 2004. Jim Anderson of Great Britain won his fourth individual medal with a second-place 1:04.33, while Greece; Georgios Kapellakis touched third in 1:07.31.
The women's 50 back – S2 final featured a pair of world records. Ganna Ielisavetska of Ukraine led her country to a top two sweep out of the S1 division with a world-record time of 1:13.64. Teammate Iryna Sotska, also S1, took second in 1:15.53. Sara Carracelas of Spain set the S2 world record with a third-place 1:16.33.
Korea's Byeong-Eon Min downed the men's 50 back – S3 world record during prelims with a 45.85. China's Du Jianping didn't let the record last long, however, as he won the evening finale with a time of 44.31. Min wound up with silver in 44.80, while Ukraine's Dmytro Vynohradets' placed third in 53.37.
Andre Brasil of Brazil captured his fourth individual gold, and fifth medal overall, with a Paralympics record time of 4:05.84 in the men's 400 free – S10. Robert Welbourn of Great Britain took second in 4:07.61, while Benoit Huot of Canada finished third in 4:12.14.
Katarzyna Pawlik of Poland finally claimed gold after winning three other individual medals during the meet, and she did so in a big way. Pawlik crushed the world record in the women's 400 free – S10 with a time of 4:33.15. Ashley Owens of the U.S. held the previous standard with a 4:39.44 set in July. Owens took silver in 4:38.11, while teammate Susan Beth Scott touched third in 4:39.44.
Singapore's Pin Xiu Yip then won gold in the women's 50 back – S3 with a time of 58.75, just missing her preliminary world-record time of 57.92. Fran Williamson of Great Britain placed second in 1:06.07, while Xia Jiangbo of China finished third in 1:07.97.
David Smetanine of France won his second gold and fourth medal overall with a time of 37.89 in the men's 50 free – S4. Richard Oribe of Spain placed second in 38.69, while Jan Povysil of Czech Republic touched third in 39.35.
Nely Miranda of Mexico set the world record in the women's 50 free – S4 with a time of 46.27. That swim cleared the 47.43 set by Kay Espenhay of Germany back in 1995. Cheryl Angelelli of the U.S. finished second in 52.81, while Brazil's Edenia Garcia placed third in 53.28.
Dmytro Kryzhanovskyy of Ukraine touched first in the men's 50 free – S5 with a time of 33.00, while Daniel Dias of Brazil grabbed his seventh individual medal overall with a second-place 33.56. Sebastian Rodriguez of Spain wound up third in 33.78.
Spain's Maria Teresa Perales downed the world record of Olena Akopyan in the women's 50 free – S5 with a time of 35.88. Akopyan previously owned the standard with a 36.42 from 2003. The win was Perales' third of the meet and represented her fifth individual medal overall. Bela Hlavackova of Czech Republic took second in 37.12, while Akopyan placed third in 37.53.
Chian's Xu Qing won his second gold of the meet with a time of 29.78 to break the 2006 world record of 30.40 set by teammate Tang Yuan. Tang, meanwhile, placed second in 30.07 with Anders Olsson of Sweden snaring third in 31.07.
Mirjam de Koning-Peper of the Netherlands claimed the women's 50 free – S6 title with a world-record time of 35.60. The swim eclipsed the 36.02 set by Doramitzi Gonzalez of Mexico back in 2000. Gonzalez wound up second in 36.52, while Natalie Jones of Great Britain finished third in 37.21.
Oleksii Fedyna of Ukraine won his fifth individual medal and third gold with a world-record time of 23.75 in the men's 50 free – S13. The performance wiped out the 24.51 set by Charalampos Taiganidis of Greece in 2006. Taiganidis finished second in 24.19 for his sixth overall medal, while Andrey Strokin of Russia placed third in 24.55.
Kelley Becherer of the U.S. touched out reigning Swimming World Disabled Female Swimmer of the Year Valerie Grand Maison of Canada, 27.85 to 27.88, in the women's 50 free – S13. The win gave Becherer her second medal of the meet, while Grand Maison took her sixth. Iryna Balashova of Ukraine rounded out the podium in 28.04.
Australia's team of Matthew Cowdrey (S9), Rick Pendleton (SB9), Peter Leek (S8) and Ben Austin (S8) set the world record in the men's 400 medley relay – 34 points with a time of 4:11.90. The swim demolished Australia's previous global standard of 4:22.09 set in 2006.
Meanwhile, China's foursome of Du Jianping (S3), Tang Yuan (SB5), Xu Qing (S6) and Yang Yuanrun (S6) nipped the world record in the men's 200 medley relay – 20 points with a time of 2:33.15. Brazil held the previous record with a 2:33.59 set in 2007.