Around 500 swimmers from 40 countries will participate in the 2018 World Para Swimming European Championships in Dublin, Ireland, from 13-19 August, but only a few of them will reach the top of the podium.
With six months to go until the continental competition kicks off in the Irish capital city, here are six swimmers whose performance you should not miss.
1. Ellen Keane
At 22 years old she is already a veteran in the sport, having competed at three Paralympic Games, winning bronze in the women’s 100m breaststroke SB8 at Rio 2016. Keane also claimed three bronzes at World Championships but has never reached the podium at a Europeans. This edition on home soil in Dublin may be the perfect opportunity for her to put an end to her medal-drought.
2. Ihar Boki
Belarus’ most decorated Paralympian is hungry for more success and is hoping to add more titles to his haul at Dublin 2018. Boki is still fresh from sweeping all his seven events at the 2017 World Championships in Mexico City. The 23-year-old won almost all the races he took part in over the past two editions at Europeans, except the men’s 100m breaststroke SB13 at Funchal 2016, finishing third.
3. Maksym Krypak
Rapidly became one of the world’s best as he swam to five golds at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, his first major international competition. He also took two silvers to finish as the second most decorated swimmer of the Games. Krypak only participated in two national events in 2017, but will be back into the pool targeting further success at Dublin 2018.
4. Sarai Gascon
The seven-time European champion will travel to Dublin again as a leading contender for medals. Gascon, one of the most-recognised faces in the swimming international scene, is still fresh from winning two golds at last year’s Worlds. The Europeans will also be another good opportunity for the 25-year-old to assess her level in the run-up to Tokyo 2020, where she aims to win her first Paralympic title.
5. Sarah Louise Rung
The Norwegian, who won five golds and one bronze at the last edition of the European Championships in Funchal, Portugal, in 2016, is hoping to take another step forward in Dublin and sweep all her events. Few will bet against her considering her most recent performances. She left Rio 2016 with two golds, one silver and two bronze, and Mexico City 2017 with one gold, two silver and one bronze.
6. Marc Evers
Dutch swimmer will be one to look out for in the men’s side, especially after his gold medal-winning performance at Rio 2016. The 26-year-old, who sealed two continental titles at Funchal 2016, is hoping to add more gold medals to his haul at Dublin 2018, where he will be competing at his third European Championships.
More information about Dublin 2018 is available on the official website.