Paralympics Day 3: Ma Jia, Karolina Pelendritou Trade World Records in S11 50 Freestyle Prelims

Aug 25, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Daniel De Faria Dias BRA in action during the swimming Men's 200m Freestyle S5 heats at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre, Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, Tokyo, Japan, Wednesday 25 August 2021. Mandatory Credit: Joel Marklund/OIS Handout Photo via USA TODAY Sports
Brazil's Daniel de Faria Dias; Photo Courtesy: Joel Marklund/OIS Handout Photo via USA TODAY Sports

Paralympics Day 3: Ma Jia, Karolina Pelendritou Trade World Records in S11 50 Freestyle Prelims

The speed in the women’s S11 50 freestyle at the Tokyo Paralympics was so intense Friday that Ma Jia went from a world record to not even holding a national record in the span of one heat.

Ma briefly set the world record in the first heat of the 50 free, stopping the clock in 30.05 seconds. That took down the world mark set by Cyprus’s Karolina Pelendritou in June (30.20 seconds) and the Paralympic record that Ma’s countryman Li Guizhi had set in Rio (30.73).

It didn’t last long for Ma Jia.

Pelendritou reclaimed her world record in the next heat with a time of 29.92, the first woman to crack 30 seconds in the event. The second seed in finals is Li, who went 29.95 to recapture the Chinese and Asian records. It sets up what should be a tremendous race in the final Friday night, with Lisette Bruinsma of the Netherlands also in play for the podium after a 30.26 prelims swim.

American Mallory Weggemann added a Paralympic record to her resume, taking home first place in the heats of the women’s SM7 200 individual medley. Weggemann clocked in at 2:54.25, the fastest time by nearly 11 seconds.

She holds the world record at 2:48.43, but she trimmed just .17 off the Paralympic record set in London by Jaqueline Freney.

Yuan Weiyi of China did the same in the men’s S5 50 butterfly with a time of 32.30 that trounces the Paralympic record set in 2012 by bof Brazil (34.15). Yuan will face a battle from countryman Tao Zheng, who was .04 behind. De Faria Dias qualified for the final in seventh.

In the women’s 50 fly, Maria Fernandez Infante of Spain obliterated her S4 50 fly world record, going 41.27 to finishing second in the mixed-class event. She had gone 43.22 in May to set the mark. The Paralympic record was 12 seconds slower, held by Tammy Cunningham from the Rio Games.

Lu Dong of China set the S5 Asian record in taking the top seed in 40.74, and EU da Silva Nevas set the Americas record at 46.32. Fernandez Infante is the only S4 swimmer among the eight finalists.

Katja Dedekind set an Oceania record in the women’s S13 400 freestyle at 4:42.33. Brenda Anellia Larry of Malaysia set the Asian record in the S5 women’s 50 butterfly at 1:00.62. On the men’s side, South African Christian Sadie set the African record in the SM7 200 IM with a time of 2:36.75. Both American men, Evan Austin and Rudy Garcia-Tolson, are into that SM7 200 IM final, in fourth and seventh, respectively.