Tai and Newman-Baronius light up Lignano

18 Mar 2024

Alice Tai and Olivia Newman-Baronius were multiple gold medal winners at the third leg of the 2024 Para Swimming World Series 2024 in Lignano, Italy across 14-17 March.

With the World Series back in Europe, a group of nine British para-swimmers headed out to compete at the Bella Italia Village sports complex in Lignano Sabbiadoro as a final racing opportunity ahead of April’s British Swimming Championships.

Alice Tai Italy WS 2024
Alice Tai

The meet provided positive preparations for Alice Tai - who opened Great Britain’s medal account in Thursday’s finals session by taking Women’s MC 100m Freestyle victory in a close race with fellow S8 swimmer, Francesca Palazzo (ITA). The Paralympic and world champion then doubled her medal count on the third day of the meet with Women’s MC 100m Backstroke gold, as Olivia Newman-Baronius joined her on the podium in bronze.

Posting on social media after the meet, Tai said:

“Grazie Lignano! The Italy leg of the World Series is done, I’m coming away with 3 (post-amputation) PB’s and a couple of gold medals too. We have our selections meet [at the British Swimming Championships] next month and I’m excited to hopefully qualify for my second Paralympic Games!”

Meanwhile, Newman-Baronius already had two gold medals to her name by the time she stood alongside Tai on the aforementioned backstroke podium. The World Series debutant impressed on the opening night to secure top spot in the Women’s MC 100m Breaststroke – in which Grace Harvey also took bronze – before following up with Women’s MC 200m Freestyle gold the following day.

Olivia Newman-Baronius.jpg
Olivia Newman-Baronius

There was more to come, as Newman-Baronius set a new Women’s S14 100m Butterfly British record in the closing individual event of the meet, stopping the clock on 1:04.10 as she topped the multi-classification points standings to add a third gold to pack into her suitcase.

Further record breaking performances in the pool came from another World Series competition debutant, Iona Winnifrith, with the SB7 athlete attaining a European record (subject to ratification) of 42.70 seconds in the 50m Breaststroke, while also lowering the 100m Breaststroke (1:34.41) and 200m Breaststroke (3:33.60) British records in her classification.

The final day of action saw Tully Kearney and Ellie Challis helping Great Britain to rank just behind the host nation Italy on the medal table, respectively achieving gold and silver in the Women’s MC 50m Backstroke for another shared British podium in Lignano.

Full results and information from the event in Italy can be found online here, with live streaming playback on YouTube here.

Kearney and Challis Italy WS 2024
Tully Kearney and Ellie Challis on the podium in Italy

The British Swimming Championships are back at the London Aquatics Centre for six days of thrilling action across 2nd-7th April 2024, with the event crowning a new set of British champions and playing a key role in the selection of the Great Britain Olympic and Paralympic swimming teams heading to the Games this summer in Paris. Tickets are currently on sale at https://britishswimming.seetickets.com