“If I want to be the best I have to beat the best.”
The USA’s 400m freestyle S10 world and Paralympic champion Ian Silverman is more serious than ever before about expanding his medal collection at the 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships in Glasgow, Great Britain.
However he will have to get past Brazilian superstar, seven time Paralympic and 12-time world champion, Andre Brasil.
After rounding off 2014 with a new world record in the 400m freestyle at the Parapan Pacs in Pasadena, USA, the 19-year-old has now set his sights on the new season where he will meet Brasil at Glasgow 2015 in 150 days’ time.
“I’m definitely trying to expand and make the podium in more events,” Silverman said. “I’ve done a pretty good job of that so far, at Montreal [2013 World Championships] and then at the PanPacs, so I’m definitely trying to carry that momentum and medal in more events than the 400m and win a couple of those as well.”
The men’s S10 classification features some of the most prolific para-swimmers in history. As well as Brasil, Canada’s Benoit Huot has won an incredible 18 world and Paralympic titles and Silverman’s 100m backstroke world champion teammate Justin Zook has won a gold medal at every Paralympic Games since 2004.
However it is Brasil, the reigning world and Paralympic champion in the 50m and 100m freestyle and 100m butterfly, who he respectfully identifies as his biggest challenger.
“I swim a lot of events and there’s always different people who are good at different events,” Silverman said. “He’s [Brasil] been at the top of my classification for a very long time. He’s always been around.
“He’s a great competitor and good in so many of the events.”
Glasgow 2015, between 13-19 July, will act as the curtain raiser for the pair’s clash at Rio 2016 where Silverman will throw down the gauntlet on Brasil’s doorstep.
“I’m aiming for that moment. I know he will be in great shape and he will want to swim fast in his own pool but I’m gonna be there too. It’s gonna be a great couple of races down there and I hope that I’ll be able to challenge him,” Silverman said.
He admitted that he is currently more of a distance specialist, and still aims to go under four minutes in the 400m freestyle this year, but he has been incorporating more speed work into his training in order to zone in on the podium in the shorter races.
He also knows that new swimmers are coming through all the time, having been the surprise package at London 2012 himself.
“I came out of nowhere just before London but I definitely want more than just one gold medal to my name. I don’t know how many I could end up with but I’m excited about trying to get some more.
“If I want to be the best I have to beat the best,” Silverman continued. “That will entail racing Andre and beating him.”
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