Tokyo Paralympics: 9 World Records, 11 Paralympic Records Shattered on Day 2

2020 Tokyo Summer Paralympic Games

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.

Prelims: 3 World Record, 5 Paralympic Records

Ukraine’s Yelyzaveta Mereshko took down  Maisie Summers-Newton’s SM6 women’s 200 IM world record from 2019 by .34 with a time of 2:56.90

The Netherlands’ Lisa Kruger warmed up the pool by taking down her own SB9 women’s 100 breast Paralympic record from 2016 with a time of 1:13.83, shaving about 1.5 seconds off the previous mark. 

Moments later, Kruger’s countrymate Chantalle Zijderveld demolished her own world record from June with a time of 1:11.23.

The third and final world record to fall during prelims was in the S13 women’s 100 back where Australia’s Kate Dedekind fended off world record holder Carlotta Gilli of Italy to win heat one with a Paralympic record time of 1:07.38.

Then in heat two, USA’s Gia Pergolini shattered Gilli’s world record from the Para European Championships with a time of 1:05.05.

Then came the wave of Paralympic records. In heat one of the S11 women’s 400 free, the Netherlands’ Lisette Bruinsma won with a 5:10.33 to crack the Paralympic record set by Germany’s Daniela Schulte at 5:11.32 in 2012.

 But then, American teenage phenom Anastasia Pagonis blasted a 4:58.40 to earn the top spot in the S11 women’s 400 free going into finals and break the minutes-old Paralympic record. Pagonis came within 2.5 seconds of her own world record in this event, which she set at the U.S.  Paralympic Trials in June.

Australia’s Rachel Watson broke the S4 women’s 200 free Paralympic record with a time of 1:35.27, taking more than 2 seconds off the record set by USA’s Kay Espenhayn in 1996.

Finals: 9 World Records, 10 Paralympic Records

After setting the S5 100 free world record off a split in the 200 free final on day one, Great Britain’s Tully Kearney did it again. She took out the first 50 in 35.83 to shave .05 off the 50 free world record and finished with a time of 1:14.39 to crush her own world record from one day ago by nearly two seconds.

Japan’s Takayuki Suzuki cracked the S4 men’s 100 free Paralympic record from 2004 by 1.19 with a time of 1:21.58 to win gold. The previous record was held by Japan’s Yuji Hanada.

The third world record of the session was clocked by Columbia’s Nelson Crispin Corzo in the SM6 men’s 200 IM. He touched the wall at 2:38.12 to shave .35 off Sascha Kindred’s world record from the 2016 Paralympics.

19-year-old Summers-Newton of Great Britain reclaimed her world record in the SM6 women’s 200 IM. Ukraine’s Mereshko had broken the record which Summers-Newton set in 2019 by .34 with a time of 2:56.90 in prelims.

But in finals, Summers-Newton pushed hard on the breaststroke leg, going from 4th place to 1st. She blasted a 2:56.68 to crush Mereshko’s hours-old world record and reclaim it as her own.

American Pagonis, the only swimmer in history to break 5:00 in the S11 women’s 400 free, broke her own world record with a time of 4:54.49. The 17-year-old took about 1.5 seconds off her world record from June.

The Netherlands’ Zijderveld also took down the world record/Paralympic records she set in prelims in the SB9 women’s 100 breast. She shaved .24 off her record from prelims with a time of 1:10.99 to win gold by about 3 seconds.

Belarusian Paralympic legend Ihar Boki won his 13th career gold Paralympic medal with a world record time of 56.36 in the S13 men’s 100 back.

Gia Pergolini, also a 17-year-old American phenom, beat her world record time from prelims in the S13 women’s 100 back with a time of 1:04.64 to become the first swimmer under 1:05.00 in the event.

The 9th and final world record of the evening was set by China’s 4×50 free relay team of Zhang Li (36.22), Zheng Tao (30.48), Yuan Weiyi (31.38), and Lu Dong (37.41). The S5 FMMF team touched the wall at 2:15.49 to crack the previous world record set by China in 2016 by 2.5 seconds.

Overall, 9 world records were broken on day two but swimmers cracked world record marks a total of 12 times. 11 Paralympic records were broken (including Watson’s S4 200 free record, an event she did not swim again in finals.)


1  ITALY (ITA) 4 4 3 11
2  RPC (RPC) 4 3 6 13
3  Australia (AUS) 4 1 5 10
4  Netherlands (NED) 2 3 0 5
5  China (CHN) 2 2 4 8
6  Great Britain (GBR) 2 2 1 5
7  United States (USA) 2 1 0 3
8  Belarus (BLR) 2 0 0 2
9  Ukraine (UKR) 1 4 1 6
10  Japan (JPN) 1 2 1 4
11  Brazil (BRA) 1 1 4 6
12  Chile (CHI) 1 0 0 1
 Colombia (COL) 1 0 0 1
 Ireland (IRL) 1 0 0 1
 Israel (ISR) 1 0 0 1
 Singapore (SIN) 1 0 0 1
17  Spain (ESP) 0 3 0 3
18  Canada (CAN) 0 1 1 2
19  France (FRA) 0 1 0 1
 Hungary (HUN) 0 1 0 1
 New Zealand (NZL) 0 1 0 1
22  Germany (GER) 0 0 1 1
 Greece (GRE) 0 0 1 1
 Mexico (MEX) 0 0 1 1
 Uzbekistan (UZB) 0 0 1 1

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Brad Flood
2 years ago


CONGRATULATIONS to ALL Record Setters!!!


About Annika Johnson

Annika Johnson

Annika came into the sport competitively at age eight, following in the footsteps of her twin sister and older brother. The sibling rivalry was further fueled when all three began focusing on distance freestyle, forcing the family to buy two lap counters. Annika is a three-time Futures finalist in the 200 …

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