World Para Swimming has announced that a new World Series, bringing together some of the world’s biggest and best competitions, will be introduced in 2017 offering athletes the chance to compete in a dedicated circuit for the first time.
The World Para Swimming World Series will begin in Copenhagen, Denmark, in March, moving to Sao Paulo, Brazil; Sheffield, Great Britain and Indianapolis, USA, before concluding in Berlin, Germany, in July.
The move represents a major development within Para swimming and aims to further develop the sport after the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games and at the start of the Tokyo 2020 cycle. It will act as a stepping stone for the World and regional Championships.
Ryan Montgomery, IPC Summer Sports Director, said: “At Rio 2016 Para swimming was one of the most talked about and well attended sports and we are confident that building a World Series will bring benefits for everyone with an interest in the sport.
“As well as offering fans and the media more opportunities to follow the world’s best athletes, it also allows us to enhance Para swimming in other areas such as classification, competition management, education and research at each event location.
“All athlete’s results at each World Series edition will be calculated using a standardised points system via an online virtual competition platform. This will ensure that the overall World Para Swimming World Series winner will be the best performing athlete over the duration of the series, meaning that every performance counts.”
Tracy Glassford, World Para Swimming Manager, said “This is hugely exciting development for Para swimming and we are grateful to all the local organisers, National Paralympic Committees and National Federations for working with us to make it a reality.
“The World Series will provide key stops on the road to World and regional Championships, including the Mexico City 2017 World Para Swimming Championships, and we look forward to seeing some of the world’s best athletes back in action once again.”
The World Series will enable National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) and National Federations (NFs) to better plan and develop their own programmes, by having access to competitions where rules and regulations are applied consistently. This is the same for classification where for the World Series, World Para Swimming can provide on-site support and guidance.
In terms of education, the circuit will be used as an access point for professional volunteer development by the NPCs, NFs and World Para Swimming. The aim is to grow the pool and standard of international and national technical officials.
The World Series will also be used as a platform for carrying out technical and classification research, which was previously mainly carried out at regional or World Championships level.
World Para Swimming’s announcement of a more comprehensive and competitive international calendar has been welcomed by some of the world’s best athletes.
The USA’s Becca Meyers, who won three gold medals and set two new world records in women’s S13 events at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, said: “As the Paralympic Movement gains momentum around the world, I am very excited that Indianapolis will be hosting one of the stops on the World Series.
“What an amazing opportunity it will be to bring awareness of Para swimming to the United States! I am looking forward to being a part of this series and to build on my success from Rio while having more opportunities to compete against other international athletes.”
Full details on the World Para Swimming World Series can be found at the dedicated website.
Copenhagen 2017 World Para Swimming World Series, 11-12 March
Sao Paulo 2017 World Para Swimming World Series - Loterias Caixa Swimming Open Championships, 20-22 April
Sheffield 2017 World Para Swimming World Series - British Para Swimming International Meet, 27-30 April
Indianapolis 2017 World Para Swimming World Series, 9-11 June
Berlin 2017 World Para Swimming World Series - Internationale Deutsche Meisterschaften Swimming Berlin, 6-9 July
The World Series will act as the build-up to the 2017 World Para Swimming Championships, taking place in Mexico City from 30 September – 6 October.