Five swimmers you might not know, but should

As the season nears its end, here are five swimmers who broke onto the top step of the podium in 2015 and could make an impact next year. 26 Sep 2015
Carlos Serrano Zarate

Carlos Serrano Zarate competes at the 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships in Glasgow, Great Britain.

ⒸLuc Percival Photography. All rights reserved.

The 2015 season has seen a host of swimmers make an impact on the podium.

Some of them are youngsters, looking forward to the first Games experience at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, and some of them have moved through the ranks since London 2012.

Here are just five that have made their presence felt, hoping for the chance to make their mark in 2016.

Carlos Serrano, Colombia, S7

The 17-year-old sensation only made his international debut in July at the 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships in Glasgow, Great Britain, but that did not stop him from winning gold in the 100m breaststroke SB7.

Serrano, who only started swimming in 2013, also won five titles at the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games in August. He smashed Games records in the 50m and 100m freestyle S7, 100m breaststroke SB7 and 200m individual medley SM7, as well as an Americas record in the 50m butterfly S7.

Serrano is one of Colombia’s most promising medal hopes for Rio 2016, and could be in line to win their first gold medal in swimming since Pedro Mejia all the way back in 1980.

Giseong Jo, South Korea, S4

Nineteen-year-old Jo has only been swimming on the international stage for less than one year. October will mark the anniversary of when he made his debut at the Incheon 2014 Asian Para Games, leaving with two gold medals.

He has been targeting a gold medal in Rio ever since, and in Glasgow made huge gains towards that goal, collecting two world titles in the 100m and 200m freestyle S4.

Aurelie Rivard, Canada, S10

Whilst Rivard will not make her Games debut in Rio like most of the other swimmers in this list, the 19-year-old is worth mentioning simply because of the incredible progress and impact she has made since winning silver in the 400m freestyle S10 at London 2012.

The women’s S10 classification is a stacked field, including New Zealand’s six-time Paralympic champion Sophie Pascoe.

However in 2015 the young Canadian won gold medals at the World Championships, beating Pascoe to the wall not once, but twice.

Rivard then went on to set a new 100m freestyle S10 world record at Toronto 2015, in front of her home crowds, ensuring that she is in pole position to make headlines come 2016.

Valeriia Shabalina, Russia, S14

Another relative newcomer to the pool, Shabalina is the latest successful swimmer to come out of Russia.

The 20-year-old won two golds at the European Championships in 2014 in the 200m freestyle S14 and 200m individual medley S14, going on to add the 100m backstroke world title in Glasgow.

Shabalina is also the current world record holder in the 200m free and 200m individual medley, having lowered both the marks at the World Championships.

Keichi Kimura, Japan, S11

In 2015, Kimura surpassed his own target of a silver medal at the World Championships, winning the 100m butterfly S11 and 100m breaststroke SB11.

Like Rivard, Kimura has competed at Paralympic Games before but has really come to the fore in the past two years, with four golds at Incheon 2014 getting his upturn in form underway.

Now that he has secured a place for Japan in Rio, Kimura will be looking to convert those performances into his first Paralympic titles in 2016.

The next major international competition in swimming is the 2016 IPC Swimming European Open Championships in Funchal, Portugal, from 30 April-7 May.

The event will act as the last qualification opportunity for Rio 2016 and is expected to feature 450 swimmers from 50 countries.