Para World Records Tumble At Sheffield World Series

2017 Para Swimming World Series – Sheffield

Multiple world records fell at the third stop of the Para Swimming World Series in Sheffield, Great Britain, with the four days of competition coming to a close Sunday. The meet was competed in a multi-class format, with a points system used to determine the winner of each event.

There was a total of three world records broken, achieved by Brits Alice Tai and Bethany Firth and the Czech Republic’s Arnost Petracek.

Tai, the Rio bronze medalist in the 100 back, broke the women’s world record in a time of 1:07.66 on her way to gold, totalling 1045 points.

“It seems so surreal right now to be a world record holder,” Tai said. “I wasn’t expecting to swim that much faster than this morning. Going into the race my PB was 1:08.34 so I was going to be happy with anything close to that. “I’ve not been close to my PB in a while so to go a 1:07 and knock lots of time off my PB and get the world record is just crazy”, Tai said post race.

Three-time Paralympic champion Firth broke the world record in the women’s s14 100 fly, putting up a time of 1:04.62. Despite the record, Firth didn’t win. That went to Rebecca Meyers of the US, who, competing in the S13 category, recorded a time of 1:04.70 to give her 934 points. Firth’s swim earned her 845 points and placed her 5th.

Along with the 100 fly record, Firth won gold in the 200 free in a time of 2:04.31 for 947 points. She was the Paralympic champion in that event last summer.

The other record went to Petracek, who broke a nine-year-old record in the men’s S4 50 back clocking 42.22 for gold. He also won gold in the 50 fly.

Along with the world records, there was also a British Record broken by Lewis White, who broke the S9 100 free record in a time of 57.18, earning him gold and 850 points.

Along with Petracek, there were three other multi-event winners in the meet. Dmitriy Horlin of Uzbekistan won the 200 IM, 100 fly and 400 free competing in the S12 category. Hannah Russell of Great Britain took down both the 50 and 100 free titles for women competing in the S12 category, and the American Meyers added wins in the 200 IM and 400 free to go along with the 100 fly mentioned earlier.

British Swimming did full recaps of all eight sessions in Sheffield, which you can find on their website here.

Check out some of the interviews from the winners, courtesy of British Swimming on Youtube, below.

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Tai dropped her class from 10 to a 9 at this meet. That’s why she suddenly set a world record. Anyone else think it’s strange that a swimmer with club feet can now compete as a 9?

Tully Kearney dropped from a 9 to a 7. Only swam day one and nothing else. Looks like she is getting progressively worse. We will see if she can work her way back on the podium.

Maisee summer-newton a new S6 looks fast where was Ellie Simmonds?


Well after spending a week watching these swimmers compete and WR broken the question to ask is ” when will disabled swimmers actually compete against disabled swimmers. Alice Tia told other swimmers she would brake the WR and it would cause waves and she did and it has. GB newest S8 Megan Richter jumping up and down before her race then in the water no sign of her mild CP ( those Aussie cheats better watch out ) having watched Megan over a number of years and seeing her race it is blatant IM yet again. Tully well we all know what’s going on there and then Steph the wheelchair milward another great oscar performance !!! No wheelchair to walk… Read more »


Totally agree re Tai and Richter – how do club feet and hemiplegia respectively suddenly get worse? This was all orchestrated by the NGB without a shadow of a doubt a la Millward – who also gave another Oscar winning performance. However totally disagree re Kearney – very sad to see a reigning world champion so much more significantly disabled than before. Did you actually see her race??? Placed 92nd out of 100 swimmers as an S7. Many people at the meet talking about her – but in a compassionate way. I understand she has a genuine progressive condition and I personally think it took immense guts for her to get in and compete. It’s hardly the same as going… Read more »


Thanks for posting about Kearney. Personally I don’t like to attack the swimmers from afar when you don’t know the “real story”. Her wikipedia page makes it look like she has “progressive cp” which really there is no such thing. So then what does she really have? It must a have a medical diagnosis or she couldn’t be classified. A little transparency(or a wiki page update) would go a long way in her case.

The way the sport is going I will only cheer for the amputees, the dwarfs and the blind s11 swimmers


Tully Kearney has claimed to have Dyspraxia then changed it to Dystonia and then added in Cerebral Palsy. Then her Dystonia began at 14. Later she was born with Dystonia. And, of course no one knew she had CP because it was so mild (and it was never reported). What is Kearneys actual impairment and why has her story varied so much over the years? Are we to believe that the medical profession mistook Dystonia for Dyspraxia for example? Her times at this meet were incredibly slow, surely that’s the fastest developing Dystonia in history, surely her times will now only get worse due to her ‘condition’, time will tell and surely the IPC classification rules were followed to the… Read more »

Amali Swims

I think you are getting a little confused – Kearney was born with mild spastic diplegia (which is a type of CP) and being dyspraxic is a symptom of that as it would be for many athletes with CP. Dyspraxia is not even a diagnostic term anyway just a description of symptoms around balance and coordination. As I understand it she developed generalised Dystonia in her mid teens which is progressive (and not such a fast progression given that she’s about 20 now I think). Anyone watching can see the poor girl is much more impaired than before – gotta feel sad for her maybe she can’t manage more than two races? Let’s focus on the real GB cheats here… Read more »


No, I don’t think I am confused. Article after article early on in Tully Kearneys career reports her impairment as Dyspraxia. Her S9 classification describes her impairment as ‘muscle weakness’. So are you saying that she didn’t know what her impairment is? That she forgot that she had dyplegic CP whilst talking about her ‘dyspraxia? And then later in her swimming career we have this sort of article “Tully, who grew up in Aldridge, was born with cerebral palsy and generalised dystonia which affects her lower limbs and left hand side of her body, but she has not let this condition get in the way of sporting success”. Even the articles reporting her pulling out of Rio 2016 list her… Read more »


Gotta agree with you. Crazy to see milward use an electric wheelchair going up to the block but then she stands up and is jumping around the place before the race starts??!


Shonad you are suggesting Richter’s hemiplegia – a type of CP – ‘suddenly’ got worse at her age when there was no evidence of that in her racing and her reclassification has caterpulted her to the top 3 in the world (where she has never been before) against much more impaired athletes like Long, whilst you criticise Kearney who is clearly much more disabled than previously and even as an S7 could only manage to place 92nd! You don’t need to be a physician just look at the evidence.

Estee123/Amali Swims – please adhere to the commenting guidelines regarding using multiple usernames in a comments section. Thanks.


Please could you email me about this comment thanks


I think I said I didn’t know Richter .. yes I definitely said that. I also said that the underlying cause of CP – (damage to the developing brain) does not deteriorate with age but that the symptoms caused as a result of said damage can and does change throughout the lifetime of someone living with CP. Dyspraxia and Cerebral Palsy are two different things all together. Someone can certainly have both. I find it rather odd that Amali Swims is calling out Kearneys swim mates, but not Kearney herself. Why on earth would Craig Nicholson and Chris Fuber ‘orchestrate’ Tai and Richter and not Kearney? The mixed up diagnosis, impressive swim times, multiple classifications, loss of funding, constant illnesses… Read more »


You do know that IM is nothing new? People have been stepping up to bench for years and not giving it there all? Just because you all have a platform to bitch about people on, means it’s become more of an issue. Who are you to down credit a fantastic swim from Alice, that was incredible personal best and she didn’t move herself down a class, you should be making complaints to IPC not bullying people on a comments section. “Steph the wheelchair Milward” you sound like a school play ground bully. Steph was classified into my category 10 years ago and people complained and parents ranted, I myself will put my hands up and say I wasn’t too pleased… Read more »


maybe you should go home and cry to your momma. These athletes are given funding and put on the national team so they are subject to public scrutiny and that’s the price they pay. Classification is the number one topic of the swimmers at the meets so why would it be any different on the comments section here. Its never going to end so just get used to it. We can’t see what goes on when the door is closed and the swimmer is on the bench but we can certainly see the swimmers times history and we know if they require and use a wheelchair in everyday life. So when we see the swimmers manipulating the system we are… Read more »


Very welll said TAA. I will also add that the IPC are being informed of IM / fraud on a pretty regular basis and are asked to explain / communicate. They refuse. They are complicit in this fraud, absolutely they is beyond comprehension.


Then maybe you should have come forward in your hayday and made a stand against IM if I see a cheat I am big enough to say it to their face and not hide behind a fake name like a keyboard warrior. Alice spoke to a few swimmers and said she did not want to be lowered but she would brake the WR as an S9 in a classification her condition does not warrant. And at great personal expense I am going to the IPC to provide evidence about cheating so why don’t you make a statement and provide it for me to take ??? And reguarding Steph how was it a post was put on this site weeks before… Read more »


Well this is a load of rubbish I have seen with my own eyes the cheating , the wheelchair is only used for a prop , she is lucky to have legs to stand on , what I see is what most people see the only ones. That keep on saying it’s fair are the ones at the top , of course they are happy they are in the wrong place , never is this a fair race and will never continue to be fair when blatant cheats are clearly beating people with more inpairments than them selfs , get a wheel chair from eBay really ???? Or you can buy them now from anywhere , maybe they should look… Read more »

Para fan

Crazy to see an athlete go down a class and break the world record, tia had some great momentum from her legs sadly I think the s9 will find this hard to compete with, just another British let’s go down a class… what is going on ?

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James formerly competed for the Laurentian Voyageurs in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in February of 2018, placing 11th at the OUA Championships in the 200 IM, and graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics in May. He …

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