Pan Pacific Para-Swimming Championships Begin Wednesday

09 Aug 2011
Matthew Cowdrey

Matthew Cowdrey

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Delegations from 14 different countries will travel to Edmonton, Canada, on Wednesday (10 August) for the Pan Pacific Para-Swimming Championships.

The Championships will take place 10-14 August at the Kinsmen Sports Centre and will be a launching pad for those swimmers aiming to compete at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Countries sending athletes to Championships include: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Great Britain, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, South African, Thailand and the United States.

A total of 196 athletes will jump into the pool during the five-day event, and many of them will be aiming for qualification times for London 2012. Take a closer look at who could make a splash in Edmonton:

Swimmers to watch

--Matthew Cowdrey is expected to lead an Australian delegation that’s sending 22 athletes to the Championships. The 22-year-old, who won five golds and two silvers at the 2008 Paralympics, had six first-place finishes at last year’s World Championships in the Netherlands.

--Brazil’s Daniel Dias won eight golds and a silver at last year’s World Championships, and the Pan Pacific Paras should provide a taste of his talented skill set that could light up the programme at next year’s Paralympic Games in London.

--Canada’s visually impaired star, Valerie Grand’Maison, was a three-time gold medallist at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games and has not backed down since. She stood on the podium after six different events at last year’s World Championships.

--Despite being 32 years of age, Mexico’s Patricia Valle medalled twice at the 2008 Paralympic Games and an astounding six times at the 2010 World Championships.

--Talk about splashing onto the scene and you’re bound to hear Mallory Weggemann’s name. Although the USA swimming star has been involved in Paralympic Sport for just three years, she already holds 15 world records and won eight golds at last year’s World Championships.

Others to keep an eye out for

--Reagan Wickens will be Australia’s youngest representative at the young age of 16.

--Canada’s Benoit Huot has been a strong contender at all international competitions since 1998.

--Charl Bouwer, a visually impaired swimmer, could make a mark on the Championships for South Africa.

--At age 22, the USA’s Rudy Garcia-Tolson already has two Paralympic gold medals and several world records on his resume.

--Japan’s Erika Nara will be one of the top threats arriving in Edmonton from the other side of the globe.