PHOENIX, Arizona, August 20. THE International Paralympic Committee’s world swimming championships presented so many inspiring stories that it was very, very difficult to pick just one person who stood out the most. With 45 world records broken and just about every athlete overcoming extreme physical disability, we almost decided to give this week’s honor to all the swimmers who raced in Montreal. But in the end, we hunkered down and picked one person who made the biggest impact.
That swimmer was Daniel Dias of Brazil. The 25-year-old won eight medals in Montreal last week, six of them gold. While he wasn’t able to break any world records, he was able to grow his world championship medal tally to an astonishing 14 over three meets. In addition to helping his Brazilian teammates win gold in the 200 free relay, Dias won gold in the 100 and 200 freestyles, 200 IM and 50s of butterfly, backstroke and freestyle. Dias was presented with the Laureus Award this year as the top Sportsperson with a Disability, beating out Oscar Pistorius and others. He was named world disabled swimmer of the year in Swimming World Magazine in 2009, 2010 and 2011, and looks to reclaim that title in 2013.
Congratulations, Daniel. You’ve just won the Speedo Performance of the Week.