The Manchester 2023 Allianz Para Swimming World Championships is taking place at the Manchester Aquatics Centre from 31 July to 6 August 2023. It is the 11th edition of the World Para Swimming event and is being held in Great Britain for the third time.
Firth and Applegate dominated the race at the newly refurbished Manchester Aquatics Centre, exchanging the lead on the first and second turns as they approached the halfway mark. With the chasing pack close behind, they managed to maintain their lead down the third length, while Fiddes made her move, entering the fray with one turn left.
Despite strong challenges from their fellow Brits and other competitors, Applegate maintained her composure and touched the wall first, reclaiming her title after 10 long years. Firth and Fiddes secured the silver and bronze, respectively, marking a direct exchange of medals between last year’s event in Madeira. For Fiddes, it was her second bronze medal in as many years.
Applegate’s joy was evident as she celebrated her victory, and her words after the race further reflected her excitement and triumph. The opening day of the championship set the stage for a thrilling and competitive week of para-swimming in Manchester.
“I feel absolutely epic – it’s been such a tough season with back injuries and everything and so to come away with gold medal means everything,” Jessica told WPS.
“I have to admit, I didn’t have the greatest trials earlier this year so I felt lucky to be here, but I went away from those in March and absolutely crushed training – hand on heart I gave my training everything and I’m so glad that it’s paid off.”
“Confidence is not my forte but I was really pleased with my heats swim and thought if I can do that in the morning, I can go faster tonight. That last length was excruciating and I just had to push through the pain – I could see Bethany on that last 25m but I gave it everything and I couldn’t believe it when the cameras zoomed in on my face.”
British Women had another clean sweep of the podium in the 200m Backstroke. In a thrilling showdown, World Champion Bethany Firth faced tough competition from fellow swimmer Poppy Maskill, who made a strong surge towards the finish line. However, Firth’s determination prevailed, and she emerged victorious once again, retaining her title as the champion. Firth defended her title and set a new Championship record of 1:05.80 seconds. Georgia Sheffield grabbed the final spot.
The competition in the Men’s 200m Freestyle was extremely fierce as all three dominant swimmers charged towards the finish line together, treating spectators to an unforgettable spectacle. Canadian swimmer Nicholas Bennet (CAN) demonstrated his pro skills in the 200m Freestyle event, putting on an incredible display for the audience.
Nicholas claimed the gold medal with a remarkable time of 1:54.75, narrowly edging out Australian swimmer Jack Ireland (1:54.79) who finished just microseconds behind. British swimmer William Ellard (1:55.38) also put on a remarkable performance, earning the well-deserved bronze medal.
Canada wins again! 🇨🇦
🥇Nicholas Bennett takes home a gold in the men’s 200m freestyle S14 by touching the wall in ⌚️1:54.75
🥈William Ellard 🇬🇧
🥉Jack Ireland 🇦🇺
— #ParaSwimming (@Para_swimming) July 31, 2023
The podium finishers from Madeira 2022’s 200m Backstroke event had a rematch at the Manchester 2023 Championships, but this time in the 100m Backstroke. Benjamin Hance from Australia (AUS) displayed his dominance by breaking his own championship record with an impressive time of 57.26 seconds, maintaining his undefeated streak.
Gabriel Bandeira of Great Britain (BRA) and Alexander Hillhouse from Denmark (DEN) engaged in a fierce battle, pushing each other to the limit. Ultimately, Gabriel secured the second position with a time of 59.05 seconds, edging out Alexander for the third spot on the podium. The competition was intense, making for an exhilarating event at the Championships.