The traditional Berlin World Series that starts on Thursday (17 June) represents different and clear objectives for the 340 athletes and 48 nations competing in the German capital.
For some, it will be the best opportunity to put their form to test ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics in August. For others, it will be the last chance to book a ticket to the Games in Japan.
Germany’s Mira Jeanne Mack is in the second group. Berlin is home water for her, who returned from the recent European Open Championships in Madeira, Portugal with a silver medal in the women’s 100m backstroke SB7 and a bronze in the 400m freestyle S8.
A good performance at the season finale World Series will secure her Paralympic debut and the chance to once again share the pool with her idol, USA’ Para swimming legend Jessica Long.
“It is admirable how confidently she deals with her disability and shows it on Instagram," Maack told the National Paralympic Committee (NPC) of Germany.
“[Tokyo 2020] would be my first time and I want to gain a lot of experience and make the most of it," the 17-year-old added.
The Berliner first met the 13-time Paralympic champion at her World Championships debut in London, Great Britain in 2019. First in the 100m backstroke S8 final and later in the 400m freestyle S8 final.
The 400m is one of the seven races Maack is set to compete in Berlin from Thursday to Sunday. The two medals in her first European Championships gave the swimmer more confidence to achieve her goals for Tokyo.
"The medals mean a lot to me. They are a confirmation for the many and also hard training, for which I sacrifice a lot of free time," she said.
Germany is not the only team with athletes in search of Paralympic Games qualification. Spain travelled to Berlin with 22 swimmers, including Marco Ozaeta (S8) and Carla Santos (S7) who will be making their World Series debut.
Dutch world champions in the water
The Spanish team will send 24 Para swimmers to Tokyo (15 in men’s events and nine in women’s events). Seven athletes have already booked their tickets to Japan.
The Netherlands sent a ten-strong team to the last World Series of the season. The team that did not compete at the Madeira 2020 Euros will count with their four world champions from London 2019.
Liesette Bruinsma (S11), Chantalle Zijderveld (S10) and Rogier Dorsman (S11) will be competing in five events, while Lisa Kruger (S10) will be in action in four.
Tokyo 2020 hosts Japan will be represented by seven swimmers in Berlin. Among them is four-time Paralympic medallist Takayuki Suzuki who will take part in the men’s 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle S3.
China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Indonesia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines and Uzbekistan are the other Asian countries with swimmers set to compete in Berlin.
The Americas region will be represented by Argentina, Canada, Chile, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
The Caribbean country will compete for the first time in the World Series with Dexroy Crease in the men’s 50m and 100m freestyle S10. If he makes it to Tokyo, Crease will become the first athlete from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines at the Paralympic Games.
The World Series will be streamed live here. Live results can be found on the official competition website.
This will be the 35h edition of the International German Championships at Europasportpark Schwimm-und Sprunghalle. The competition has been part of the World Series since the inaugural season in 2017.
World Para Swimming Instagram and Twitter pages will show all the action and the behind the scenes from the German capital.