2020 TOKYO SUMMER PARALYMPIC GAMES
- When: Pool swimming: Wednesday, August 25 – Friday, September 3, 2021
- Where: Olympic Aquatics Centre / Tokyo, Japan
- Heats: 9 AM / Finals: 5 PM (Local time)
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EXPLANATION OF PARA CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM
- There are 14 classifications for Paralympic swimmers, typically denoted as “S” followed by a number.
- “SB” designates an athletes classification for breaststroke events
- “SM” is for individual medley events
- Athletes with physical impairments are classified in S1-S10, SB1-SB9, and SM1-SM10 with numbers 1-10 ranging from more severe activity limitations to less severe limitations.
- Athletes with visual impairments are classified in S/SB11-13.
- Athletes with intellectual impairments are classified in S/SB14.
- The Paralympics are not the “Para Olympics” or anything similar. The International Olympic Committee and International Paralympic Committee are separate organizations with separate leadership and separate events that happen to have a partnership to organize their crowned jewels more efficiently.
History was made during the third prelims session of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, featuring two World records and four Paralympic records biting the dust.
For the first time, the 30-second barrier was cleared in the S11 women’s 50 free, which features athletes with the most severe visual impairments including blindness. In heat one, China’s Ma Jia first broke the 30.20 World record and 30.73 Paralympic record with a time of 30.05. In the second heat, Cyprus’ Karolina Pelendritou & China’s Li Guizhi finished three one-hundredths apart from one another at the finish to clear Jia’s World/Paralympic records, 29.92 to 29.95. Guizhi’s time was also good enough to set a new Asian record.
Before this session, Pelendritou formerly held the world record from May 2021 while Guizhi originally held the Paralympic record from Rio 2016.
In the S5 men’s 50 fly, China’s Yuan Weiyi chopped more than a second-and-a-half off the 2012 Paralympic record of 34.15 to clock the top seed into the final at 32.30. The former record-holder, 26-time Paralympic medalist Brazil’s Daniel Dias, qualified 7th into the final at 37.27. Dias has earned two bronze medals so far at these Games.
Out of the S5 women’s 50 fly, China’s Lu Dong took the top prelims seed with a new Asian record time of 40.74. Taking the No. 2 seed in this preliminary event was S4 swimmer Marta Fernandez Infante, who set a new World/Paralympic record in her category with a time of 41.27. Placing sixth en route a new Americas record was Joana da Silva Neves Euzebio, touching the wall at 46.32. Another S4 swimmer, Malaysia’s Brenda Anellia Larry, set a new Asian record at 1:00.62.
Two Americans will swim the middle lanes of the SM7 women’s 200 IM final following prelims. Mallory Weggemann swam 2:54.25 to take down the 2012 Paralympic record of 2:54.42. Weggemann already holds the World record at 2:48.43, which she set back in 2010. Teammate Ahalya Lettenberger placed second at 3:05.06.
More Day One Prelims Top Seeds
- S8 Men’s 100 Back: Robert Griswold (USA), 1:05.49
- S14 Men’s 200 Free: Jordan Catchpole (GBR), 1:56.81
- S14 Women’s 200 Free: Valeriia Shabalina (RPC), 2:09.55
- S11 Men’s 50 Free: Edgaras Matakas (LTU), 26.16
- SM7 Men’s 200 IM: Mark Malyar (ISR), 2:32.86
- S13 Men’s 400 Free: Ihar Boki (BLR), 4:06.02
- S13 Women’s 400 Free: Anna Stetsenko (UKR), 4:31.51