ATHENS, September 28. THE 2004 Paralympic Games Swimming program came to a close today, with a total of 97 world and 156 Paralympic records broken-–an impressive total of 253 records, of which 17 (seven world and ten Paralympic) were registered on the last evening session.
Greece's Christos Tampaxis clocked the first of these records by winning the Men's 50m Backstroke S1 in a new Paralympic record of 1:22.20. Alexandros Taxildaris swam from lane one to take the silver medal, giving Greece a one-two finish.
The team from Australia clocked one of the most exciting world records, in smashing the men's 4x100m Medley Relay 34 Points by over six seconds to win in 4.26.25.
Australia's Rod Welsh led at the first turn ahead of Great Britain and the USA. A strong breaststroke by Daniel Bell extended their lead, with Spain moving into second place at the 200m mark. Ben Austin extended Australia's lead even more in the fly, with Spain maintaining second and China moving up to third. In the final leg, Alex Harris held Australia's lead, but a fast finish by Xiao Xiong for China and Poitr Pijinowski for Poland gave them the minor placings.
In the women's 4 x 100m Medley Relay 34 Points, the USA won quite convincingly in 5:14.08, ahead of Canada (5:18.57) and Australia (5:25.02). Canada, through Stephanie Dixon, took a wide lead after the backstroke leg, with the USA and Australia trailing. Beth Riggle closed in for the USA with a strong breaststroke. Kelly Cowdrey's butterfly brought the USA in the lead, then Erin Popovich finished off to give them victory. Russia had moved into second place during the fly lap, but a punishing swim by Chantel Wolfenden allowed Australia to pass ahead in the freestyle finish of the race, earning them the bronze medal.
Jim Anderson (GBR) took the men’s 50m Backstroke S2 in a time of 1:05.51. This was Anderson's fourth gold in as many events.
Danielle Watts (GBR) gathered the Women’s 50m Backstroke S2 in another new Paralympic record of 1:19.12.
And Jian Ping added one more medal to his collection of five already collected earlier in the competition, when he won the Men's 50m Backstroke S3 in 53.66.
In the Women's 50m Backstroke S3 Annke Conradi (GER) won the gold medal in 1:04.86 making completeing a full set, together with her bronze in the 50m Freestyle and her silver in the 100m freestyle. Second was Fran Wiliamson (GBR) in 1:08.34.
Clodoaldo Silva (BRA) broke the first world record of the evening with his victory in the Men's 50m Backstroke S4 in 35.41.This win gave him his fifth individual gold of the meet. Second was Yuji Hanada (JPN) in 37.54 with David Smetanine (FRA) in 39.51 for the bronze.
Japan's Mayumi Narita had a perfect start-finish record to match the world record she set in the Women's 50m Freestyle S4 in 39.22. She has had seven starts for seven gold medals, all but the Backstroke in world record time. Although even in the 50m Backstroke she added a record, if only a Paralympic one. The USA's Melanie Benn was second in 52.50, trailing Naritaby over 15 meters.
Sebastian Rodrigues (ESP) broke his own world record in the Men's 50m Freestyle S5 by swimming a speedy 32.62. This gives Rodrigues a world record victories in all three Freestyle events-–50m, 100m and 200m. Second was Dymytro Krzhanovskyy (UKR) in 33.63.
It was the clock separating the first four swimmers in the Women's 50m Freestyle S5, as they finished in an almost straight line across the pool. First was world record holder Olena Akopyan (UKR) in a time of 37.26 which was well outside her world time. Second was experienced Beatrice Hess (FRA) in 37.53 and third was Teresa Perales (ESP) in 37.62.
Jianhua YIN (CHN) lowered his own Men's 50m Freestyle S6 world record to 30.80. Second was Spain's Daniel Vidal with Anders Olsson from Sweden third in 31.90. In the Women's 50m Freestyle S6, Doramitzi Gonzales of Mexico won in 36.14, just outside her own world record, to match her 100m world record time and gold medal. Second was France's Ludivine Loiseau in 36.43 with Japan's Erika Nara third in 37.65.
World record holder Andrey Strokin of Russia came from behind to win the Men's 50m Freestyle S13 in a time of 24.88 in a very close finish over Charalampos Taiganidis (GRE) in 24.97.
In the final individual event of the Paralympic Games Swimming, Kirby Cote (CAN) continued her dominance of the S13 division by winning the 50m Freestyle in 28.47, just ahead of Australia's Prue Watt in 28.89 and Canada's Chelsey Gotell.
In the Men’s 4x50m Medley Relay 20 points, Brazil won gold in a time of 2:37.46, ahead of Japan (2:42.52) and Spain (2:44.65). In the Women's 4x50m Great Britain's team of Nyree Lewis, Maggie McEleny, Natalie Jones and Jane Stidever, claimed yet another relay world record when the team finished in 3:16.34, ahead of Spain (3:31.47) and Japan (3:33.11).
In the final event of the Swimming program for the 2004 Paralympic Games, the Men's 4x100m Medley Relay 49 Points, the meet ended suitably with a world record, set by the Ukraine (Sergiy Klippert, Oleksandr Mashchenko, Sergiy Demchu, Dmytro Aleksyeyev) at 4:13.65. Second was Spain in 4:20.85, with Belarus third in 4:21.51.