Stephen Clegg became the first ever S12 swimmer under the 28-second barrier in the Men’s 50m Backstroke as he picked up Great Britain’s two golds at the 2023 Citi Para Swimming World Series leg in Berlin.
The four days of action at the Schwimm-und Sprunghalle in the Europasportpark (SSE) saw a busy programme of multi-classification (MC) racing, with Maisie Summers-Newton, Samuel Downie, William Ellard, Jordan Catchpole, Ellie Challis and Brock Whiston all securing time on the podium alongside Clegg’s electric gold medal swims.
Edinburgh University’s Clegg began his busy programme of events narrowly missing out on silverware in the Men’s MC 100m Butterfly in fourth before anchoring the Mixed 4x100m Freestyle 49 point quartet of Scarlett Humphrey, Rebecca Redfern and Matthew Redfern to IDM Berlin Open silver as the British foursome build race experience in the format ahead of Manchester 2023.
Returning to focus on his individual endeavours, Clegg next lined up behind the blocks for the Multi-classification Men’s MC 50m Backstroke World Series A Final. Drawn alongside one of his great rivals in the S12 class, Raman Salei (AZE), the pair produced an epic sprint race down the single length of the pool - both incredibly getting their hands to the wall underneath the previous S12 world record mark, but it was Clegg who successfully took the touch in 27.79 for the new leading mark and first of his gold medals in Berlin.
The pair faced off again over the Men’s MC 100m Backstroke, with Salei attempting to apply pressure by getting out quickest to the turn. Clegg, however, had more in the tank down the return leg to finish half a second clear and take his second victory of the meet. A prosperous time in the German capital for Clegg was rounded out with bronze in the Men’s MC 50m Butterfly in Sunday’s closing World Series final.
The first British medal of the meet also delivered a bit of history as Samuel Downie grasped Men’s MC 200m Backstroke open bronze in a new S8 200m Backstroke British record time of 2:30.83 - taking just over a tenth off the previous mark set 12 years earlier in the same city. SB6 Paralympic Champion, Maisie Summers-Newton, then followed up with Women’s MC 100m Breaststroke silver as she progressed on her respective World Series finals time from two months ago in Sheffield.
Meanwhile William Ellard stepped onto the podium on successive days in Berlin to continue his breakthrough season. The St Felix School Swimming Club athlete earnt silver on Friday in the Men’s MC 100m Freestyle by holding off the fast finishing challenge of fellow S14 swimmer, Jordan Catchpole, who took bronze, before doubling up his haul in a Saturday splash’n’dash for a further silver in the Men’s MC 50m Freestyle.
The weekend's medal tally was added to with a sprint effort from Ellie Challis in the Women’s MC World Series A Final - the Aled Davies-coached swimmer picking up silver as she continues preparations to defend her SB2 50m Breaststroke world title later this year, whilst Brock Whiston was also rewarded with an IDM Berlin Open bronze for her solid swim in the Women’s MC 200m Butterfly.
A bumper British line-up attended the 2023 Citi Para Swimming World Series Berlin as a high quality international racing opportunity. Full results can be found online here, with live streaming playback available on sportdeutschland.tv.