Return of Open Water Events to the World Para Swimming Calendar – Open Water Cup in Sardinia
The beautiful island of Sardinia, Italy, was host to the inaugural World Para Swimming Open Water Cup on 23 September 2023. 36 swimmers from 13 different nations, competed in both men’s and women’s 1.5km and 3km races in the town of San Teodoro. This marked the return of open water events to the World Para Swimming calendar after a hiatus of over a decade.
In the men’s 1.5km open water multi-class race, Spain’s Javier Torres, a five-time Paralympic and 16-time world champion, was the winner, finishing with a weighted time of 28:10.68. He was closely followed by the Turkish duo, Berkin Koral (class S6) and Ugur Senel (S6), who secured silver and bronze. Torres’ victory was complemented by the Spanish national anthem being played two more times in the men’s 3km races, celebrating the victories of Jacobo Brun (S9) and Alejandro Medero (S14) in their respective events.
Torres said, “It has been fantastic to be able to enjoy this water on a day in which we have faced not only rivals but also the weather conditions, wind, and waves that also make this kind of competition more beautiful and interesting.”
The women’s category Nora Meister, a twenty-year-old Swiss swimmer, got her first gold medal in the women’s 1.5km open water S4-S6 event, finishing in 21:37.00, she was followed by Italy’s Caterina Meschini in second place.
This was Meister’s debut in a global World Para Swimming event, and she expressed her joy and satisfaction with her performance:
“Luckily, I didn’t meet any jellyfish. I was really afraid when I was swimming because I was thinking if there would be any. I really enjoyed, I liked long-distance swimming and I hope there’s going to have more of open water cups.”
In the women’s 3km event, Oliwia Jablonska (S10) from Poland and Pernilla Lindberg (S14) from Sweden were crowned champions in their respective categories. Jablonska clocked 38:43.68 ahead of silver medallist Taylor Winner (S10) of USA and bronze medallist Nahia Zudaire (S8) of Spain. Lindberg finished in 38:03.00 followed by Spain’s Ariadna Beltran (S13) in second and Marina Pettinella (S14) of Italy in third.
Craig Nicholson, Head of World Para Swimming said, “We have had a really positive entry for this event which is a great start. It’s also great to be working with an experienced LOC (Local Organising Committee) in Sardinia who have delivered a number of international open water events over the years and are providing a good environment for the swimmers to experience open water swimming.”
See full results here
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