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European Para-swimming Championships: Teenagers Winnifrith and Ellard both win gold

  • William Ellard and Iona Winnifrith win golds.

Teenagers Iona Winnifrith and William Ellard both took gold for Britain on the opening day of the Para-swimming European Open Championships in Madeira.

Winnifrith, who only turned 13 earlier this month, won the SM7 200m individual medley on her British debut.

Ellard, 18, a silver medallist at last year’s Worlds, triumphed in the men’s S14 200m freestyle.

There was a silver for another teenage debutant, Olivia Newman-Baronius, in the women’s S14 200m freestyle.

The event, which is the last major international test before Paris, is also open to non-European swimmers.

Winnifrith, who went under the SB7 100m breaststroke qualifying time for the Paris Paralympics at the Aquatics GB Swimming Championships earlier this month, was second at halfway behind Ukraine’s Veronika Korzhova.

But she put in a storming breaststroke leg, coming from more than seven seconds back to lead by two and a half seconds with the freestyle leg remaining, and she maintained her advantage to win in three minutes 9.76 seconds – with Korzhova clocking 3:10.24.

“I wasn’t expecting European champion in this event, my main event is breaststroke, it’s my first ever Europeans, so really really happy,” Winnifrith said.

Ellard had equalled the world record of 1:52.40 at the Aquatics GB Championship and although he looked on course to beat that time in Madeira, he faded slightly late on to clock 1:52.62 to finish well clear of Ukraine’s Dmytro Vanzenko (1:54.41).

Newman-Baronius was involved in a great tussle with Russian Paralympic champion Valeriia Shabalina, who is competing as a Neutral Paralympic Athlete.

Shabalina, who has also won European and world titles in the event, clocked 2:08.91, with the 17-year-old Briton just 0.3 seconds back.

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