Brazil’s Phelipe Rodrigues is ready to peak at the 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships, and is preparing to potentially become his country’s next leading S10 swimmer.
Rodrigues, who has won a clutch of silver and bronze medals at World Championships and Paralympic Games since 2008, has spent most of his career finishing behind teammate and 12-time world champion Andre Brasil.
But so far in 2015, the 24-year-old is faster than Brasil in the 50m freestyle and 100m freestyle, his compatriot’s best events.
And he has more left in the tank.
“Training’s been going really well,” Rodrigues, who trained for a period in Manchester, Great Britain, said. “We have been training really hard since last year, when I moved back to Brazil. This year I already set times close to my PBs [personal bests] which is really good and I’m really excited.
“I’m feeling good and will hopefully feel even better on the days I have to race.”
Rodrigues, smiling and relaxed, was speaking just days before the start of the swimming Worlds, which run from 13-19 July in Glasgow, Great Britain, where he will look to end his gold medal drought.
He was confident of his potential, particularly in the 50m freestyle, whilst acutely conscious that it is not just Brasil he needs to look out for.
“I always think that I can win the gold,” he said. “In my class we are all very close together. Anything can happen on the day, a bad start, a bad finish, an extra breath can be the difference.
“So I always think that I can beat him and the rest of the world. I’m more confident than ever for these World Champs.”
Rodrigues also revealed the closeness in his relationship with Brasil, revealing that the pair swap tips on strokes and performance.
In the mid-term after Glasgow 2015, with or without his dream first world title, Rodrigues will compete at the Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games in a punishing seven events.
But the Brazilian speaks of all of these major internationals as just the warm-up for what will be his biggest stage – the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
“I’m feeling very, very excited,” he said. “Especially after London. When I saw the crowd supporting the British people, I thought ‘I can’t believe it’. I can’t imagine how it’s going to be with the Brazilians supporting us.
“I’m really going all out for Rio.”
And with a new competition standard training facility just finished in Brazil, Rodrigues gave a nod towards the gruelling training regimes and the global travel, offering one message for the fans waiting for him at home:
“I’m sure you will love what you will see in Brazil. Because what we are doing for you, you are going to love it.”
The 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships will feature around 580 athletes from nearly 70 countries and will be one of the biggest qualification opportunities for Rio 2016.
Tickets are still available at www.ticketmaster.co.uk/Glasgow2015 and all seven days of action will be shown live at Glasgow2015.com alongside live results between 13-19 July.
Fans can also follow @IPCSwimming on Twitter and Facebook and Paralympics Instagram for behind-the-scenes updates and pictures.