Algarve swimmer with Down syndrome breaks world record

Swimmer Filipe Santos, one of the Algarve’s most successful athletes with Down syndrome, has been honoured by Portimão council after setting a new world record for the fastest time in a 25-metre butterfly event (SM21-SDown class).

The record-breaking performance (15.59 seconds) happened during the National Winter Championship for Disability Swimming in Guarda which were held on February 16 and 17.

The previous record belonged to South-African swimmer Pietie Bell, who had completed a race in just 15.75 seconds in 2008.

Filipe, 30, already boasts a long list of achievements which include dozens of international, European and national titles.

“It is a blessing for us to have a swimmer who performs at this level, especially in a year where we are a European City of Sport (ECS),” said Portimão mayoress Isilda Gomes on Friday during a ceremony in which Filipe was presented with an ECS medal for his performance.

“Filipe is a top athlete as well as an extraordinary human being whom we should support so that he continues to achieve good results. He is in our heart and is already part of the history of local sports,” she added, also praising the work of his club, O2 Portimão, and his coach Paulo Sousa.

Filipe Santos remains motivated to continue writing history and is due to take part in the European Championship that will be held between September 12 and 22 in the Italian island of Sardinia.