New Zealander Mary Fisher has spoken of her hopes for July’s IPC Swimming World Championships, after setting a world leading time in the 400m freestyle S11 as she builds towards defending five world titles.
The 200m individual medley Paralympic champion set the mark at the selection event for the national team in Auckland in April, but is anticipating one of the toughest competitions of her career this summer in Glasgow, Great Britain, from 13-19 July.
“I think the competition will be much closer this time around,” Fisher said. “Whenever I go into any race I always try to swim it to the best of my ability and if I've medalled afterwards it is the icing on the cake!”
The S11 athlete is still only 22, and will go into this tournament in the finest form of her career. As the returning champion from 2013 in the 50m and 100m freestyle, 100m butterfly, 100m backstroke and 200m individual medley, securing further victories in Glasgow is top of Fisher’s agenda.
“Personal best times are what I try and always aim for, so to hit my previous best would be great in Glasgow. In terms of our New Zealand team, our aim is to have a great environment where everyone can swim to their potential. We have a mix of swimmers in age and experience.”
Fisher’s S11 classification is filled with up-and coming-stars, as well as Paralympic and world champions, and she acknowledges that more glory in July is by no means a certainty.
“The European swimmers are always very good- Daniela Schulte [Germany], Maja Reichard [Sweden], Elisabeth Egel [Estonia], Cecelia Camellini [Italy]...and there are also fast American and Asian swimmers and new people coming through, so I think there will be lots of exciting racing.”
Glasgow 2015 is one of the biggest qualification opportunities for Rio 2016 and will be the largest swimming competition before the Games take place in South America for the first time.
“Any pinnacle event I want to aim high in and do well, but Paralympic Games is incomparable to anything, it is the big goal,” Fisher said. “In my swimming I want to chase down personal best times and better technique. A great thing that happened in London was the equality between Olympic and Paralympic coverage in many forms of media and advertising. I'd love to see that happening in New Zealand too.”
Tickets for the 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships are still available priced at GBP 10/15 for heats/finals, with children under 16 going free (terms and conditions apply). Heats start at 10am and finals at 6pm every day between 13-19 July.
Media accreditation for the event, which is set to see around 650 of the world’s best swimmers from nearly 50 countries compete, is also still available.