Five reasons to follow the Sheffield World Series

The biggest gathering of Para swimmers since the Rio 2016 Paralympics is expected to be action-packed. 26 Apr 2017
Bethany Firth of Great Britain celebrates winning the gold medal in the Women's 100m Backstroke - S14 Final at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Bethany Firth of Great Britain celebrates winning the gold medal in the Women's 100m Backstroke - S14 Final at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

ⒸBuda Mendes/Getty Images

Around 300 swimmers from more than 20 countries are gearing up for the start of the third World Series of 2017, which gets underway in Sheffield, Great Britain, on Thursday (27 April).

Here are five reasons to follow the biggest competition since the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games that will also be shown live at British Swimming’s website.

1. The world’s best return to Great Britain

Before it became a World Series event, the British Para Swimming International Meet (BPSIM) built a reputation for attracting some of the world’s best swimmers.

The 2017 edition is no different and will see European, world and Paralympic champions line up once again.

Norway’s Sarah Louise Rung will have her second World Series outing as well as the USA’s Jessica Long.

2. British swimmers make their season debuts

After the excitement of Rio 2016, swimmers are switching focus to their next challenge. The 2017 World Para Swimming Championships take place in Mexico City from 30 September – 6 October and for many of the British team, Sheffield will be their first outing of the year.

It is a chance to test their form, swim against their rivals from around the world and get ready for the year ahead.

Paralympic champions Ollie Hynd, Bethany Firth, Eleanor Robinson and Aaron Moores are amongst those set to compete.

3. Record-breaking potential

At the 2016 edition of BPSIM, five world records were broken in the lead up to the Paralympic Games. Moores and teammate Rebecca Redfern were among those to set new bests.

A raft of national records has also been broken over the years, showing the potential of this event to produce impressive performances.

4. Rivalries in action

With the meet being the season debut for many swimmers, the World Series will also offer the first glimpse of the year into some of the sport’s hottest rivalries.

A clash between Redfern and the USA’s Rebecca Meyers is the highlight of the women’s S13. Redfern set a new world record in the 100m breaststroke at BPSIM in 2016, but Meyers went on to leave Rio 2016 with three golds.

Moores and European champion compatriot Scot Quin also went head-to-head in the Brazil in the 100m breaststroke SB14 final, with Moores emerging the victor by just 0.13 seconds.

5. New kids on the swimming blocks

Fifteen-year-old British swimmer Robinson made a name for herself at Rio 2016, winning her first Paralympic title in the women’s 50m butterfly S6.

That followed four medals from Robinson’s international debut at the European Championships just a few months before.

Teammate Lewis White also had his breakout season in 2016, claiming bronze in the 400m freestyle S9 in Rio. That followed on from his third place in the 100m freestyle at the Euros.

Hong Kong’s Wai Lok Tang is not new to the scene in the men’s S14, but he did step onto his first Paralympic podium in Brazil at the age of 19.

Competition runs in Sheffield from Thursday-Sunday (27-30 April). Heats begin at 10:30am (CET) and the finals at 6:00pm.

The World Series takes in some of the biggest Para swimming competitions around the world ahead of the 2017 World Para Swimming Championships in Mexico City, from 30 September-6 October.

After Sheffield, Indianapolis, USA; and Berlin, Germany, will host events in June and July respectively.