Sardinia 2023, the World Para Swimming’s first Open Water Championship concluded on Sunday. In the Men’s S11-S14 3000m Open Water race, two exceptional athletes with intellectual impairments, who competed under the S14 class, dominated the podium.
Alejandro Meneses Medero (S14), an exceptional swimmer hailing from Spain, made history by clinching the inaugural championship title in the 3000m Open Water race. He delivered a stellar performance, clocking a remarkable time of 43:38.00, and asserted his dominance on the podium. In the chase for glory, he was closely trailed by Bassani Federico (S11) and Victor Izzo (S14), who clinched the second and third positions, respectively.
Reflecting on his monumental victory, Alejandro described it as a “dream come true,” an experience of a lifetime, heightened by the fantastic camaraderie among the athletes. He recounted the ever-changing conditions of the race, saying,
“During the initial lap, it was smooth sailing as the sea was calm, but a gentle breeze during the second lap altered everything, creating somewhat challenging conditions.”
In a conversation with Virtus, Alejandro shed light on his preparations for this prestigious event.
“I’ve been participating in regional competitions for the past four years and engaging in the conventional National open water circuit organised by the Royal Spanish Swimming Federation within my age category Premaster. This rigorous training prepared me well for this debut World Para Swimming Open Water Cup, and I had high hopes for a strong performance.”
Being a resident of the Canary Islands, Alejandro had the unique advantage of regularly training in the open waters, alongside his companions Maijo, Julio, and Ale, in addition to his dedicated pool training sessions.
After tasting success, Alejandro expressed his desire to continue participating in the national circuits of the Royal Spanish Swimming Federation. He also harboured hopes that this competition could evolve into a global circuit with various series, a development he found promising.
“I think it’s a fantastic discipline, and I hope it gains more prominence in the future, not just at the Virtus level but also within the World Para Swimming organisation.”
Alejandro graciously dedicated his hard-earned medal to his supportive family, acknowledging their unwavering assistance in his competition preparations. He also expressed gratitude to his club, the Santa Cruz Sports Group, where he competes in Open Water, and the adapted club A.D. Tensalus. Additionally, he extended his appreciation to the organizations that stood by his side, his physiotherapist, and the dedicated fans who continually showered him with their support and congratulations through social networks.