A total of 176 swimmers from 11 countries are headed to La Mirada, California, in the USA to compete in the Can-Am Open Swimming Championships hosted by U.S. Paralympics from 8-10 December.
The three-day event will be held at La Mirada’s Regional Splash Center, with the largest delegations coming from USA and Canada.
For the Canadians, 16-time Paralympic medallist Benoit Huot and six-time Paralympic medallist Valerie Grand’Maison will lead the charge.
Top swimmers for host nation USA include seven-time Paralympic gold medallist Jessica Long and two-time Paralympic gold medallist Rudy Garcia-Tolson. It will be one of the final warm-up events for the Americans before their trials next year for the London 2012 Paralympic Games, which will be held in Bismarck, North Dakota, from 14-16 June.
“We are excited to host the 2011 CanAm Open event at La Mirada, our first major swimming event in Southern California,” said Julie O’Neill, U.S. Paralympics team leader of sport performance.
“With London approaching we expect to see some fast performances from both our U.S. athletes and many of our competitors from around the world who will be in attendance at the event.”
Australia will also send some of its best in the pool, including eight-time Paralympic gold medallist Matt Cowdrey and up-and-coming Kayla Clarke, who won a silver at last year’s World Championships in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.
Argentina, Chinese Taipei, Denmark, Great Britain, Korea, Russia and Ukraine will also be represented by small delegations.