Oxsana Savchenko, the world’s fastest female Paralympic swimmer has laid down the gauntlet to her competitors ahead of July’s International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Swimming European Championships by saying she is determined to win 50m and 100m Freestyle gold.
The 20-year-old Russian who won three gold medals at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games will be one of around 500 swimmers competing in Berlin, Germany at one of the last major gatherings of international athletes before the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
She is set to compete in the 50m and 100m Freestyle, 100m Backstroke and 200m Individual Medley in the German capital, all events she won gold in at last year’s IPC Swimming World Championships in the Netherlands.
And the World record holder at 50m Freestyle S12 is keen to add to her bulging medal collection in one of her favourite cities whilst assessing her rivals’ performances ahead of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Speaking to www.paralympic.org, the IPC’s website, Oxsana Savchenko said: “I don’t like to predict events, everything will depend on my preparation, but I still hope to win gold in the 50m and 100m Freestyle. I don’t like to think about records, but who knows this may happen.
“I think Berlin is important as you can judge people’s form for the Paralympic Games in London. The results from Berlin will show what preparation they have put in so far.
“My coach will set targets for me for Berlin and I’ll try do my best to achieve them, not get too excited and put in good performances.”
According to Savchenko her preparations for Berlin started back in November 2010 with her coach paying particular attention to her technique and then the distances she will cover.
Oxsana Savchenko said: “At the moment I am training between four and six hours each day in the swimming pool. This is usually made up of two sessions which last between two and three hours.
“To be in good physical shape for Berlin I’m also exercising in the gym on different training simulators.”
Born with glaucoma Savchenko was encouraged by her mother as a six year old to take up swimming to stay fit and healthy.
Aged 12 she took part in her first national Championship and learnt more about the Paralympic Movement. Two years later she watched the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games and that is when she realized that one day she wanted to be a Paralympic Swimming Champion.
At her first IPC World Championships in Durban, South Africa aged 15 she won one gold and three silver medals. She then fulfilled her dream of becoming a Paralympic champion in Beijing where not only did she win three gold medals but also set two World records in the 50m and 100m Freestyle.
Last year she improved her 50m World record at the IPC Swimming World Championships lowering it to 26.96 seconds.
Other swimmers set to compete in Berlin between 3-10 July include two-time Paralympic champion Frenchman David Smetanine and Ukraine’s Maksym Veraska, the fastest Para-Swimmer in the world.