Thomas Hamer’s outstanding world record swim and three stunning gold medal-winning performances from rising star Alice Tai MBE highlight the seven days of action at the Dublin 2018 World Para Swimming European Championships.
Hamer, who claimed a gold a few months prior at the Gold Coast, set a blistering time of 1:55:71 in the men’s S14 200m freestyle to claim gold by almost four seconds, breaking his own world record set at the Commonwealth Games this year in the process. Fellow countryman Jordan Catchpole continued his rise to para swimming fame by following up Hamer to finish second having reacted quickest on his opening entrance on day two. Thomas Hamer also took a bronze medal in the SM14 200m individual medley.
Commonwealth champion Alice Tai was hoping to win her first individual European title and she not only achieved that but became quadruple European champion in the S8 100m butterfly, 100m freestyle, 100m backstroke and women's 4x100m medley relay 34pts. The 19-year-old won the backstroke by a monumental 9.04 seconds with British swimmer Megan Richter finishing in second place.
Fellow Team England swimmer Lewis White replicated his Commonwealth silver success and won two silver medals in the S9 400m freestyle and 100m freestyle. Commonwealth Champion Eleanor Robinson MBE took home a medal of each colour with gold, silver and bronze in the S6 50m butterfly, 100m freestyle and 50m freestyle respectively.
The success of Team England's athletes were replicated on day two by a host of English swimmers, including teenage sensation Maisie Summers-Newton, who claimed gold and set a new world record in the women’s SM6 200m medley with a time of 2:59:60. Ellie Simmonds finished just outside the medals by under a second, but she was able to rectify this in the coming days.
The sixteen-year-old starlet beat Simmonds’ previously held world record by 0.21 seconds. She told the BBC: “I just wanted to give it everything but I can't believe it. I was nervous coming to this event but racing in the 50m freestyle on Monday (where she finished fourth) put me in a good place. I've been training hard and it all came together.”
Still revelling in her monumental success, Summers-Newton went on to compete in the SB6 100m breaststroke the following day, and once again claimed her second gold and her second world record of the competition. Finishing nearly eight seconds ahead of second place, this success was made even better when Simmonds powered away from Ukrainian Viktoriia Savtsova to secure a British one-two. Summers-Newton finished the Championships with three golds and one bronze.
Paralympic champion Hannah Russell claimed three European titles. On Wednesday, she was handed a joint gold medal with German Elena Krawzow in the women’s S12 50m freestyle after finishing with the exact same split time. Then, on day four, she capitalised on her good form to put in a dominant performance in the S12 100m backstroke, finishing nearly five seconds ahead of Spaniard Delgardo-Nadal in second. She added a S12 100m freestyle gold to take the triple crown.