2012 London Paralympics: China Puts Exclamation Point on Remarkable Meet With World Record in Final Swim

LONDON, England, September 8. THE People's Republic of China certainly had an outstanding week at the 2012 London Paralympics with 57 total medals, and closed down swimming at the London Aquatics, both Olympic and Paralympic, with a world record in the final relay of the night.

China finished with 57 medals (23 gold, 13 silver, 21 bronze), while Ukraine moved to second in the medal tally with 44 (17 G, 14 S, 13 B). The United States and Russia tied for third with 41 medals each. The U.S. had 14 golds, 13 silvers and 14 bronzes, while Russia collected 13 golds, 16 silvers and 12 bronzes. Great Britain and Australia rounded out the top five with 39 and 36 total medals, respectively.

Individually, Australia's Jacqueline Freney posted a Phelpsian eight gold medals to lead all swimmers. USA's Jessica Long claimed eight medals as well with five golds, two silvers and a bronze. Matthew Cowdrey topped all male swimmers with eight medals as well, five golds, two silvers and a bronze.

(Want some insight into the classification system at the Paralympics? Click here to read Jeff Commings' breakdown of the groupings.)

Russia's Pavel Poltavtsev opened the final evening of competition in a big way with a world record in the men's 100 breast SB9. Poltavstev clocked a time of 1:04.02 to smash the previous global standard of 1:05.94 set by Kevin Paul in April of this year. Paul, meanwhile, surpassed his previous best with a silver-winning 1:05.70 after breaking his Games record of 1:08.58 with a 1:06.21 in prelims. China's Lin Furong finished third with an Asian record 1:07.40. The win was the first for Poltavtsev this week after earning bronze as part of the Russian 400 free relay 34 points in the early part of the meet.

Ukraine's Khrystyna Yurchenko won her first medal of the meet with a victorious time of 1:17.81 in the women's 100 breast SB9 event, also surpassing the European standard in the process. New Zealand's Sophie Pascoe clinched her sixth medal of the meet for her 10th career medal with a silver-winning time of 1:18.38. Pascoe collected an impressive haul of three golds and three silvers this week. Great Britain's Harriet Lee rounded out the podium with a bronze-winning time of 1:19.53, just clipping Russia's Nina Ryabova (1:19.67) for a spot in the medals.

China's Xu Qing raced to his fourth gold medal of the meet with a Games-record time of 1:05.82 in the men's 100 free S6. That swim eclipsed the 1:05.95 set by Anders Olsson in 2008, and rattled Olsson's world record of 1:05.45 set in October 2009. The 19-year-old Xu also captured gold in the 200 IM, 50 free and 50 fly throughout the meet. Germany's Sebastian Iwanow snagged silver in 1:07.34, while Cuba's Lorenzo Perez Escalona earned bronze with a time of 1:08.01. Iwanow claimed his second medal of the meet after a bronze in the 100 back, while Perez Escalona also has a pair of medals after his bronze.

After matching her world record with a 1:14.74 in prelims, USA's Victoria Arlen decided to cut more than a second from her global mark with a sterling time of 1:13.33 in the women's 100 free S6 this evening. The win gave Arlen her first gold medal of the meet after a trio of silvers earlier in the week. Great Britain's Ellie Simmonds, who has become the local face of the meet in London, took silver in a European record 1:14.82 for her fourth medal overall. She won a pair of events and also pocketed a silver and bronze this week. Germany's Tanja Groepper edged China's Song Lingling by the slimmest of margins, 1:16.83 to 1:16.84, for bronze as Song posted an Asian record with her effort.

Russia's Mikhail Zimin emerged with a world record from a close battle for gold in the men's 100 breast SB12 as Zimin rocketed to a 1:07.05 for the win. That swim surpassed the global mark of 1:07.46 set by Maksym Veraksa at the2008 Beijing Paralympics. Belarus' Uladzimir Izotau finished just behind with a silver-winning time of 1:07.28, while Veraksa completed the top three with a swift 1:07.79 for his fourth medal of the meet after already winning a trio of events earlier this week.

A pair of swimmers eclipsed the world record in the women's 100 breast SB12 event with Azerbaijan's Natalia Pronina edging Cyprus' Karolina Pelendritou, 1:16.17 to 1:16.38, for her first gold of the meet. Both swims beat the 1:16.82 set by Pelendritou to win the event in 2008. The win gave Pronina her fifth medal of the meet, but first gold after a quartet of silvers this week. Ukraine's Yaryna Matlo earned bronze with a time of 1:20.21.

While Jacqueline Freney collected a Phelpsian eight gold medals on the women's side, Brazil's Daniel Dias has been putting his stamp on the men's side of the ledger. Dias dominated the men's 100 free S5 finale this evening with a 1:09.35, under his world record of 1:09.44 from May 2011. That win gave Dias an impressive sixth gold medals after victories in the 50 free, 200 free, 100 breast, 50 back and 50 fly earlier in the week. USA's Roy Perkins claimed silver with a time of 1:14.78, his fourth medal and second silver of the week. Spain's Sebastian Rodriguez earned bronze after posting a time of 1:15.70.

World-record holder Teresa Perales halted the freight train that had been Nataliia Prologaieva of Ukraine in the S5 division. Perales backhalfed her way to a 1:18.55 for the win in the 100 free, her first gold and sixth medal after a trio of silvers and a pair of bronzes earlier this week. Prologaieve, who had won three golds thus far, took her first silver with a time of 1:20.57. Israel's Inbal Pezaro wound up with a bronze in a time of 1:22.56.

Ukraine's Oleksii Fedyna cleared his Games record in the men's 100 breast SB13 with a triumphant time of 1:04.3. That swim undercut his 1:04.63 to win the event in 2008, but missed Fedyna's world record of 1:03.91 from July last summer. The win gave Fedyna his first this week after a bronze in the 50 free early on. Russia's Roman Dobovoy turned in a second-place time of 1:07.06, while Belarus' Dzmitry Salei placed third with a bronze-winning time of 1:07.54. Ihar Boki of Belarus, who has already won five events as well as claimed six medals this week, placed sixth in 1:08.98.

Australia's Prue Watt followed with an Oceania record time of 1:19.19 to win the women's 100 breast SB13, her first win of the week. Germany's Elena Krawzow placed second with a silver-winning performance of 1:20.31, which also cleared the European mark. Additionally, USA's Kelley Becherer captured bronze with a 1:21.50, her fourth medal of the meet with two golds and two bronzes.

China's Yang Bozun has torn up the competition in the men's S11 division this week. This evening, he claimed his third gold medal and sixth overall with a world-record time of 2:22.40 in the men's 200 IM SM11 event. His time nipped the previous record of 2:22.97 set by USA's John Morgan back in 1992. Ukraine went 2-3 to complete the rest of the podium. Viktor Smyrnov checked in with a European-record time of 2:26.45, while compatriot Oleksandr Mashchenko edged Spain's Israel Oliver, 2:27.77 to 2:27.79, for the bronze.

New Zealand's Mary Fisher crushed the competition in the women's 200 IM SM11, upsetting world-record holder Daniela Schulte of Germany with a global mark of her own in the process. Fisher smashed through the finale with a 2:46.91. That performance beat Schulte's prelim world record of 2:48.86, which had undercut Schulte's previous global standard of 2:52.36 from August 2010. The win was Fisher's first after earning two silvers and a bronze earlier in the week. Schulte, meanwhile, placed second in 2:49.57 for her second medal of the week behind a gold in the 400 free last night. Canada's Amber Thomas snagged bronze with a 2:59.00.

Mexico's Gustavo Sanchez Martinez raced to his second gold and fourth medal this week with a 2:58.09 in the men's 200 free S4 finale this evening. He previously won the 100 free, placed second in the 150 IM and third in the 50 back. France's David Smetanine placed a distant second in 3:01.38, edging world-record holder Richard Oribe of Spain as Oribe earned bronze with a 3:01.62.

Korea's Min Byeong-Eon topped the men's 50 back S3 event with a time of 42.51, just missing his world record of 42.21 set earlier this week during the 150 IM. Ukraine's Dmytro Vynohradets took silver with a time of 46.26 to stand as the European mark, while China's Du Jianping earned bronze in 46.48.

The final swim at the London Aquatics Center, both Olympic and Paralympic, ended with a triumphant world record from the Chinese foursome in the men's 400 medley relay 34 points. Liu Xiaobang, Lin Furong, Wei Yanpeng and Wang Yinan clocked a 4:09.04 to down the world record in the event. Russia's Konstantin Lisenkov, Pavel Poltavstev, Eduard Samarin and Denis Tarasov just missed the gold with a silver-winning 4:09.08, while Australia's Michael Anderson, Matthew Cowdrey, Brenden Hall and Matthew Levy claimed bronze in 4:14.97.