Imagen
Gold medalist Anna Stetsenko of Ukraine celebrates on the podium at the medal ceremony for the Women's 100m Backstroke - S13 on day 10 of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games

Anna Stetsenko

Swimming
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Having only made her international debut just four months before the 2015 World Championships, few would have predicted the meteoric rise to the top of the women’s S13 carried out by Anna Stetsenko.

The Ukrainian cemented her status as one of the world’s best swimmers at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, where she broke the 20 year old world record in the 50m freestyle.

Stetsenko first made a name for herself in Berlin, Germany, where she broke the 400m and 100m freestyle world record. In July that year, she went on to complete a podium sweep of all her events at the Worlds including her first world title in the 100m freestyle.

However the field was deepening. Swimmers such as the USA’s Rebecca Myers were improving all the time whilst Uzbekistan also produced two notable names in the form of Shokhsanamkhon Toshpulatova and Muslima Odilova.

Stetsenko went up against the Uzbek pair for the first time at the European Open Championships in May 2016, the last major international event ahead of Rio 2016.

They pushed her to another world record in the 100m freestyle and she also picked up a further two freestyle titles. But Stetsenko, who began swimming in 2001, was saving her best performance for the biggest stage possible.

At Rio 2016 her world record performance in the 50m freestyle propelled her to international recognition.

However Myers left with three gold medals of her own and Toshpulatova also sealed a title.

The rapidly improving trio will get the chance to face each other once again at the 2017 World Para Swimming Championships in Mexico City from 30 September.

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Vision impairment
Origin of Impairment
Congenital
Classification
S13, SB13, SM13

Further personal information

Residence
Dnipro, UKR
Occupation
Athlete
Languages
Russian, Ukrainian
Higher education
Physical Education - Donetsk State Institute of Health, Physical Education and Sport: Ukraine

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She began swimming at age nine in Soledar, Ukraine.
Why this sport?
In the beginning she only wanted to learn to overcome her fear of water, so her parents took her to the pool. "You come in as a small child who just wants to learn how to swim, then you are instilled with the desire for new goals. The coach sees the potential and takes the athlete to a certain level, where there are people who help you get into the national team and develop."
Club / Team
Invasport: Dnipro, UKR
Name of coach
Oganes Mkrtchan [personal], from 2013
Training Regime
She trains twice a day, for a total of 10 sessions a week.

International debut

Year
2015
Competing for
Ukraine

General interest

Nicknames
Anya (salt-news.com.ua, 30 Jul 2015)
Hobbies
Reading, spending time with family, painting. (Athlete, 19 Mar 2021)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning gold in the S13 50m freestyle, S13 100m freestyle and S13 100m backstroke at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (SportsDeskOnline, 04 Aug 2021; Athlete, 13 Aug 2018)
Most influential person in career
Coach Oganes Mkrtchan. (Athlete, 13 Aug 2018)
Hero / Idol
US boxer Muhammad Ali, US swimmer Michael Phelps. (Athlete, 21 Aug 2019)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Through hardship to the stars." (Facebook profile, 02 Jul 2021)
Awards and honours
In recognition of her performance at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, she received the Order for Merit [third class] in Ukraine. (president.gov.ua, 04 Oct 2016)

She has received the title of Honoured Master of Sport in Ukraine. (dsmsu.gov.ua, 31 Dec 2020; Athlete, 27 Sep 2017)
Other sports
She has also represented Ukraine in able-bodied swimming and open water swimming at international level. In swimming, she competed at the 2013 European Short Course Championships in Herning, Denmark. In open swimming, she competed in the 5km event at the 2010 European Junior Championships in Hoorn, Netherlands. (SportsDeskOnline, 04 Aug 2021)
Ambitions
To win gold at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (Athlete, 09 Mar 2020)

Results

Unit Date Rank
2015 IPC Swimming World Championships (Glasgow, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 50 m Freestyle S13 Heat 2 2015-07-13 2
Women's 50 m Freestyle S13 Final 1 2015-07-13 2
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM13 Final 1 2015-07-14 3
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM13 Heat 3 2015-07-14 2
Women's 100 m Backstroke S13 Heat 1 2015-07-15 2
Women's 100 m Backstroke S13 Final 1 2015-07-15 2
Women's 400 m Freestyle S13 Final 1 2015-07-16 2
Women's 400 m Freestyle S13 Heat 2 2015-07-16 1
Women's 100 m Freestyle S13 Final 1 2015-07-18 1
Women's 100 m Freestyle S13 Heat 2 2015-07-18 2
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 100 m Butterfly S13 Final Round 2016-09-08 5
Women's 100 m Butterfly S13 Heat 1 2016-09-08 2
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM13 Final Round 2016-09-10 4
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM13 Heat 1 2016-09-10 1
Women's 400 m Freestyle S13 Final Round 2016-09-12 2
Women's 400 m Freestyle S13 Heat 1 2016-09-12 1
Women's 50 m Freestyle S13 Final Round 2016-09-14 1
Women's 50 m Freestyle S13 Heat 3 2016-09-14 1
Women's 100 m Freestyle S13 Heat 3 2016-09-16 1
Women's 100 m Freestyle S13 Final Round 2016-09-16 1
Women's 100 m Backstroke S13 Final Round 2016-09-17 1
Women's 100 m Backstroke S13 Heat 2 2016-09-17 1