Alice Tai Among Six World Records Broken on Night Two of World Para Swimming Championships in London

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Alice Tai broke the world record in the S8 100 back. Photo Courtesy: British Swimming / Georgie Kerr Photography

Six world records fell on night two of the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships in London as Great Britain’s Alice Tai was the highlight for the British fans in attendance, breaking the 100 back S8 world record on Tuesday night. Great Britain also got a gold medal from Bethany Firth in the S14 100 back as she broke the championships record. Italy’s Simone Barlaam broke the world record in the S9 100 back for his second record of the meet.

Also adding to the world record tally was Russia’s Roman Zhdanov in the S4 100 free, Israel’s Mark Malyar in the S7 400 free, and China’s Wang Xinyi in the S11 100 back. China’s mixed medley relay also broke a world record to close out the session.

Men’s 200 Free

Francesco Bocciardo started off the night with a gold in the S5 200 free with a 2:24.11 to break the Championships record in the process and just miss his own world record of 2:23.65 from last summer. Bocciardo was well in front of second place Antoni Ponce of Spain (2:32.83) and bronze medal winner Theo Curin (2:42.36) of France.

Women’s 200 Free

Great Britain’s Tully Kearney won her second gold medal of the World Para Swimming Championships with a 2:46.92 in the S5 200 free as she also broke the championships record in winning the gold. She finished in front of Italians Arianna Talamona (2:51.43) and Monica Boggioni (2:57.96).

Kearney said of her race:

“I knew that going out from the start looked a winner. I knew I had to go out quick and stay ahead so that’s what I tried to do. I died off a bit but I think that’s to be expected as I’ve had a pretty tough season. It’s just under a year since I had surgery; I’ve had multiple injuries and even five weeks ago I was in hospital not thinking I’d be able to compete. For me to come here and have the fitness to be that close to my PB, I’m so pleased.”

Men’s 100 Back

Italy’s Simone Barlaam broke his second world record of the Championships with a 1:01.22 in the S9 100 back final as he got under the 1:01.75 world record from USA’s Justin Zook in 2012. Barlaam finished ahead of France’s Ugo Didier (1:01.83), who nearly broke the world record as well in silver medal position. Australia’s Timothy Hodge (1:02.17) won the bronze medal.

Russia’s Bogdan Mozgovoi (1:02.18) was just off the podium in fourth as China’s Zhou Cong (1:03.20) broke the Asian record in fourth.

“I feel really really pumped, it was a great swim, I’m really happy with it,” Hodge exclaimed post-race.

“It was a close finish – as close as anything – but I’m pretty sure my coach would be happy with it as well. That last 15 was a killer, I don’t think I’ve had a last 15 like it, it was hard, but I know I gave it my all.

“I went in with a goal to just do a PB so to come out with a medal as well is just something extra – I’m really happy, it’s made my day,” Hodge added.

USA’s Robert Griswold won the S8 100 back final with a 1:03.47 as he narrowly missed the world record of 1:02.90 by Zhou Cong. Griswold was hardly challenged, winning by over five seconds ahead of Australia’s Jesse Aungles (1:09.00) and Spain’s Inigo Llopes (1:09.23).

“I was super happy with it,” Griswold said. “I was kind of all over the place in the lane, and that’s on me, that’s something I need to fix. Otherwise, I’m super happy with it and super blessed to have the world championship title and be defending it from 2017. I wanted to do my best, but I want to hand it to those guys. They’re some of my best friends and I enjoy competing with them. I wanted to do the best I could. It’s always a good race no matter who’s in there. It’s not necessarily about the times, it’s about the people you’re competing with, and those are some great guys in there.”

Delighted with his accomplishment, Aungles said his first medal at a world para champs is a testament to his commitment and the support team he has around him.

“It feels fantastic, there’s been a lot of hard work, especially from my whole team behind me,” Aungles said.

“It’s been a different year this year and I’ve been lucky enough to have three different coaches, but they’ve all been right behind me – I’m really happy with the performance tonight,” Aungles said.

Viacheslav Emeliantsev of Russia won gold in the S14 100 back with a 59.62 as he finished ahead of crowd favorite Jordan Catchpole of Great Britain (1:00.86). Britain’s Louis Lawlor (1:01.47) won the bronze medal for the British crowd.

Catchpole said of his second place finish:

“I wanted more. I’m going to go back home and train ten times harder and come again next year and see what happens.”

Lawlor was delighted with his performance and said:

“That was a huge surprise, I didn’t expect that at all. It’s a dream come true. One race, one final, one bronze! I’ve loved every minute here and this will give me a platform to move forward.”

In the S13 final, world record holder Ihar Boki won the final with a 57.73 to just miss his own record of 56.68 from the 2016 Paralympics. Boki was two seconds ahead of Canada’s Nicolas-Guy Turbide (59.70) as they were the only two to break a minute. Oleksii Virchenko of the Ukraine finished in third at 1:00.83.

“I came here with one goal, to win my first world championship medal. Now, everything else the rest of the week is gravy,” said Turbide, who trains at Club de Natation Région de Québec with coach Marc-André Pelletier. “I would have loved to set a personal best but I can’t complain with 59.70. It was still a great swim, and I’m especially pleased with my start and first 50, which was much better than this morning.”

In claiming silver, Turbide earned himself a nomination to the Canadian Paralympic Committee to represent Canada in Tokyo next summer.

“This bodes well for Tokyo, for sure. All I can do is keep working as hard as I have. I can’t control what other swimmers do. All I can control is my own preparation, and that’s what I intend to do.”

The Ukraine continued its strong night in the S11 100 back with the likes of Viktor Smyrnov (1:09.07) winning the gold ahead of Rogier Dorsman (1:09.64) of the Netherlands and Mar Gunnarsson (1:10.43) of Iceland.

Women’s 100 Back

New Zealand’s Sophie Pascoe nearly broke her own world record in the S9 100 back final as she easily won the gold medal with a 1:07.49, just missing her own record of 1:07.41 that she set earlier this year. Regardless, Pascoe won handily over Australia’s Ellie Cole (1:10.42) and USA’s Lizzie Smith (1:12.64).

A jubilant Cole said a silver medal was a wonderful result and as good as gold to her.

“I just missed out on the podium yesterday, so to redeem myself is really wonderful. I actually saw the cute little bears when you medal so I’m really excited to get one of those for my niece,” Cole said moments after her achievement.

“It was a very different approach to last night, I was so nervous last night I was shaking on the blocks, so tonight was just all about going out there and having fun, which is what I usually race like, so I felt like my old self. Every time I get out the water and have fun like that, I always know why I love to swim – and that’s exactly why.”

“Backstroke hasn’t been a main focus up until the last two weeks, and it was mostly to help the relay,” Smith said. “What happened out there is proof that you should swim hard, because you don’t know what will happen. It’s my first individual medal since 2013, so it feels good to be back at that place and see the training pay off.”

Great Britain’s Alice Tai gave the British crowd something to cheer about as she swam a 1:08.04 in the S8 100 back to break her own world record that was a 1:08.09 from earlier this year. Tai finished eight full seconds ahead of silver medal winner Tupou Neiufi (1:16.37) of New Zealand and bronze medal winner Megan Richter (1:17.08) of Great Britain.

USA’s Jessica Long was fourth at 1:18.86.

A delighted Tai said of her performance:

“I actually looked at my time when I turned. It’s a bad habit of mine and I thought oh gosh I’m going to really have to push it here to get this world record. I really wasn’t expecting it and I’m quite emotional.”

Speaking about teammate Megan Richter’s bronze medal, Tai continued:

“I’m honestly so, so happy for Megan. I know she’s had a really good year’s training and I love the fact I can share the podium with her.”

Despite winning bronze, the race itself had been stressful for Richter. She said:

“I ripped my race suit just before the start so I was worrying about that the whole time. The first 50 was good, but I hit the lane rope on the way back which wasn’t great. I was hoping for a low 1:17 but I’m happy with that and it makes all the hard work worthwhile.”

Great Britain’s Bethany Firth continued the British success in the women’s S14 100 back as she won the gold medal at 1:05.97 for a new championships record. Firth touched first ahead of Russia’s Valeriia Shabalina (1:07.23) and Great Britain’s Jessica Applegate (1:08.33).

Firth said of her performance:

“I’m so happy, the crowd have been amazing. I’m coming back from injury and I was just trying to retain that title and that’s what I’ve done.”

Applegate also spoke of the race, and said:

“I’m a little disappointed. If I’d gone season’s best I may have got a silver. But that’s me just being hard on myself as it’s not really my event.”

Italy’s Carlotta Gilli won the S13 final with a 1:06.48 as she broke the championships record and just missed her own world record of 1:05.76 set in 2018. USA’s Gia Pergloni won her first medal of the meet with a silver at 1:06.82 while Uzbekistan picked up its first medal with a bronze from Nigorakhon Mirzokhidova (1:07.67).

Another world record fell in the S11 final with China’s Wang Xinyi (1:16.40) coming out on top, lowering her own world record from a 1:17.81. Wang won by nearly four seconds as Kateryna Tkachuk of the Ukraine was second at 1:20.02 ahead of Maryna Piddubna (1:20.07) of the Ukraine.

Men’s 100 Free

Nelson Crispin of Colombia won the 100 free S6 final with a 1:04.91 to narrowly miss the world record of 1:04.60. Crispin won Colombia’s first gold medal of the championships as he won ahead of Italy’s Antonio Fantin (1:05.54) and Oleksandr Komarov (1:06.51) of the Ukraine.

A world record fell in the S4 100 free final by way of Russia’s Roman Zhdanov (1:21.28), who lowered the record from a 1:21.73 that Takayuki Suzuki set earlier this year. Suzuki finished in second place here with a 1:22.38 as he was leading at the 50. Korea picked up its first medal of the meet with a bronze from Jo Giseong (1:24.88).

Women’s 100 Free

China’s Jiang Yuyan won the S6 100 free in an upset over world record holder Yelyzaveta Mereshko of the Ukraine. Jiang broke the championship record with a 1:11.53 while Mereshko was second at 1:11.85. Jiang just missed Mereshko’s world record of 1:11.40 from the 2016 Paralympics. Great Britain’s Maisie Summers-Newton won the bronze at 1:13.87.

Summers-Newton said of her race:

“I just tried to stay relaxed and I felt positive before the race. It’s an event where I don’t have that much pressure on me and maybe that helped. It’s also an event I never thought I’d medal in and it puts me on a high for the IM tomorrow. I’m really happy.”

Italy’s Arjola Trimi won the S4 100 free gold medal with a 1:29.56 as she won ahead of China’s Peng Qiuping (1:31.61). Peng broke the Asian record in the process while Australia’s Rachael Watson won the bronze at 1:33.90.

Men’s 200 IM

Maksym Krypak of the Ukraine won the SM10 200 IM final with a 2:06.13 to break the championships record. Krypak just missed the world record held by fellow Ukrainian Denys Dubrov (2:05.63) from last year. Krypak won by two seconds over Stefano Raimondi (2:08.20) and further back was Bas Takken (2:12.07) of the Netherlands.

Women’s 200 IM

Chantalle Zijderveld and Lisa Kruger went 1-2 in the 200 IM for the Dutch as Zijderveld broke the SM10 European record at 2:27.00, winning ahead of Kruger at 2:27.33. Hungary’s Bianka Pap (2:30.39) won the bronze medal just ahead of Australia’s Jasmine Greenwood (2:30.76).

Men’s 100 Fly

Dzmitry Salei of Belarus narrowly won the S12 100 fly final with a 57.28 just ahead of Great Britain’s Steven Clegg (57.36) for the silver. Yaroslav Denysenko was also amongst the top two as he won bronze at 57.70.

Despite being so close to gold, Clegg was far from disappointed and said:

“I’m really happy with that result. I’ve progressed again and that’s all you can ask for. I’ve learned a lot from the last twelve months and I can take all of this to Tokyo. I’m thrilled, and the crowd, wow! I had goosebumps today.”

Braedan Jason of Australia broke the Oceania record with a 59.50 for sixth place.

Men’s 400 Free

Mark Malyar of Israel broke the fourth world record of the second finals session with a 4:33.64 in the S7 400 free. Malyar smashed the old record of 4:39.14 from Josef Craig of Great Britain set in 2013. Andrii Trusov of the Ukraine won the silver medal at 4:40.07 while Argentina’s Inaki Basiloff (4:43.30) broke the Americas record for third.

Australia’s Matthew Levy broke the Oceania record with a 4:48.82 for sixth place.

Women’s 400 Free

McKenzie Coan and Ahayla Lettenberger went 1-2 for the United States in the S7 400 free as Coan touched first at 5:09.58 while Lettenberger came in second at 5:15.90. Switzerland’s Nora Meister (5:18.94) won the bronze medal while China’s Chen Shuling (5:27.87) broke the Asian record in fifth place.

“I feel amazing,” Coan said. “I went out there and I had so much fun, and being right next to my two teammates was incredible. I enjoyed the race and it felt good. Going in, I knew I wanted to have a good, clean race. I knew there were some turns I needed to clean up from this morning. I think I did that on some of them, but it’s definitely going to be a piece that I’m going to work on going into next year. My speed is there in the middle, I just need to fine tune some things. I felt great out there. I know there’s more in me. I’m always eyeing that world record and it’s always on my mind. I can go back and fix the little things and we’ll be ready.”

Mixed 4×50 Medley Relay

China’s team of Wang Lichao (33.23), Song Lingling (47.02), Wang Jingang (30.39) and Peng Qiuping (41.95) absolutely smashed the mixed 4×50 medley relay world record with a 2:32.59 to lower the Ukraine’s 2018 world record of 2:39.29. Italy (2:40.92) and the Ukraine (2:41.20) finished in second and third.

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