The Paralympic swimming is a sport that attracts the public in the Paralympics. One reason may be the amount of competition. The disputes take place from September 8th until the 16th, the end of the competition, will have been disputed 152 trials, an extremely high number, which appears due to the division of athletes into classes. This makes the 12 individual events multiply and are played several times by athletes with different types of disabilities.
The differences of paralympic sport for swimming that is played in the Olympics are very small. Most occurs in the starting moments and the "turned over" the end of each 50m trial. Because of their physical limitations, some athletes do not have the possibility to start the race jumping off the starting block , starting their trial already in the water, using the edge of the pool as impulse it is supported by a coach or even simply jumping next to the block, often sitting. At the time of the turned over, the main difference happens to the visually impaired, which have a "tapper", responsible to wear a foam bat in order to warn the swimmer the pool edge is near.
The classes of swimmers are divided into three groups: swimmers with physical and motor limitations are grouped into classes ranging from S1 to S10, SB1 to SB9 and SM1 to SM10. Visually impaired people fall into the class S11 to S13, SB11 to SB13 and SM11 to SM13. Finally, there are the intellectual disabled, who are in the classes S14, SB14 and SM14. The acronyms are easily explained. The letter S from the word "swimming". The SB variation is related to breaststroke and SM, the swimming medley, where athletes swim all four styles.
Competition venues: Olympic Aquatic Stadium
The Paralympic swimmers will vie for their competitions in the same place where there were disputes sport during the 2016 Olympic Games. The Olympic Aquatic Stadium, built as a temporary facility, will host the competition only and exclusively, swimming is the only sport that pass through this facility, unlike what happened at the Olympics, when the water polo was also played there.
Located within the Olympic Park, in Barra da Tijuca, the stadium was considered one of the most beautiful facilities among built for competitions. With capacity for 15,000 spectators, the hope is that the house may be crowded because swimming had a high demand for tickets. The most affordable ways to get to the Olympic Park are via subway, by line 4, or via BRT using the Rio 2 stations, Outeiro Hill or Olympic Center.
Champions in London
The Paralympics London 2012 saw two Australian swimmers get the most medals in the issue: Jacqueline Freney, women, and Matthew Cowdrey, swimming in the male side. However, neither of them will be present in Rio 2016. Freney ruled out the Australian delegation for health reasons, while Cowdrey retired from swimming pools. However, we had other great highlights such as the Brazilian Daniel Dias, who managed six golds.
Daniel dominated the competitions S5 class, winning the 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle, in addition to the 50m breaststroke and 50m butterfly, besides being the 100m Breaststroke Champion in the SB4 class. The Australian Matthew Cowdrey, competing in the S9 and SB8 classes had similar performance, winning the 50m and 100m freestyle, 100m backstroke, 200m medley and relay 4x100m freestyle, also getting a bronze in the 4x100m medley and two silvers in the 100m breaststroke and 100m butterfly. However, it is also important to highlight Chinese domination, the country topped the medals table of the sport.
With 24 gold medals, China had an excellent performance of two of his swimmers. Yang Yang, the class S2, won four gold medals in the 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle, besides 50m backstroke. Xu Qing, in the S6 class, took gold in the 50m and 100m freestyle, and has been champion 50m butterfly and 200m medley. We can also cite Ihar Boki, Belarus. The swimmer got a total of six medals, including five gold, in contests played in the S13 class, breaking four world records.
For women, two Australian excelled, helping her country to achieve in second place in the swimming medals table. Jacqueline Freney, as mentioned above, won the 50m, 100m and 400m freestyle, achieving other golds in the 100m backstroke, 50m butterfly and 200m medley, plus the relays 4x100m freestyle and 4x100m medley, competition in your compatriot Ellie Cole also achieved the same medal. Cole also secured two more golds in the 100m freestyle and 100m backstroke, and two bronzes in the 50m and 400m freestyle. Besides the two Australian, we can mention the American Jessica Long, who had impressive numbers, winning a total of five golds, plus two silvers and a bronze.
The Favorites in Rio 2016
As we have a total of 595 athletes and 152 events, we will focus on three male swimmers and three female swimmers to have displaced as favorites and that promise great chances to medal. For men, we can highlight two Brazilian: Daniel Dias and André Brazil, whose integrating the team most recognized Paralympic athletes in the country, mainly because of its success in the pools. Born in 1988, Daniel Dias has incredible numbers in swimming. In the two Olympics who competed in Beijing 2008 and London 2012, achieved 10 gold medals, in addition to already being the owner of countless world records in S5 and SB4 classes.
In the S10 class, we have the greatest representative André Brazil. His performance is quite similar to Daniel, already owning seven gold medals in two editions of Olympic Games disputed. It is important to note that in addition to Andrew, we will also have the Brazilian Phelipe Rodrigues and the Canadian Benoit Huot as excellent competitors in the same class. Another swimmer must have attention is the Belarussian Ihar Boki. Swimming his first Paralympic in London in 2012, he got five gold medals and one silver, breaking four world records, being dominant in the S13 class.
On the side of women, we must start with Jessica Long, competing in the S8 class, which arrives in Rio accredited by a spectacular performance in London 2012. The American competes in Paralympic since Athens 2004 when he was only 12 years old and earned three medals gold. Since then, she raised a total of 17 Paralympic medals, although it has only 24 years. Another swimmer who started very early was Sophie Pascoe of New Zealand. In Beijing 2008, with only 15, took home three golds and a silver, performance has been improved in London, when she got three golds and three silvers in the S10 class. Finally, Ellie Cole of Australia reaches its second edition of Paralympics defending two titles, in the 100m free and backstroke, in addition to gold medals in the relays 4x100m free and medley.
Curiosities about the sport
- Swimming is the second sport that has given more medals to Brazil in Paralympic Games, second only to athletics. Until that edition, already were 83 medals, 28 gold, 27 silver and 28 bronze.
- In the Paralympics, swimming totally prohibits the use of any equipment that helps the swimmer, including prosthetics that some of them use on a daily basis.
- Sport is one of those who have been around since the beginning of realization of the Paralympic Games in 1960.