Anna Stetsenko18 April 1992
- LATEST TRIUMPHS:
- Rio 2016 Paralympic Games – Gold: 50m and 100m freestyle and 100m backstroke; Silver: 400m freestyle
- 2016 IPC Swimming European Championships – Gold: 50m, 100m and 400m freestyle; Silver: 200m individual medley; Bronze: 100m backstroke
- 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships – Gold: 100m freestyle; Silver: 50m and 400m freestyle; Silver: 100m backstroke; Bronze: 200m individual medley
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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.