Swimming at Rio 2016: Who has podium potential?

Most people are familiar with the big names to look out for, but who could also win a medal for their country? 09 Aug 2016
Girl swimming in the pool with swimcap and goggles on.

Liesette Bruinsma from the Netherlands busy training at her swimming camp in Amsterdam.

ⒸMathilde Dusol

In fact the Bruinsma departed with a suitcase stuffed full of medals, collecting a silver and bronze in the 50m and 100m freestyle S11 respectively.

The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games are just under one month away, and with swimming set to begin on 8 September training is intensifying at pools all around the world.

Here are a handful of athletes who could be in line for their first Paralympic medals, based on their recent performances.

Matheus Sousa, Brazil, men’s S11

The home crowds cannot get enough of their swimming heroes and another could be added to their ranks at the Aquatics Stadium.

From a lowly best finish of sixth in the 400m freestyle S11 at London 2012, Sousa has moved to the world top three in both the 100m and 400m freestyle. He has shaved around five seconds off his time in the longer distance since 2012, emerging as the victor during the 2016 IPC Swimming European Open in May. It is a similar story for the 100m, where the Brazilian also took gold.

At the World Championships, Sousa is a double silver medallist from 2015.

Liesette Bruinsma, Netherlands, women’s S11

The Dutch 15-year-old heads into her first Paralympic Games as the world record holder in the 100m breaststroke SB11.

Having lowered the mark at the European Open, Bruinsma also left those Championships with a further two golds in the 200m individual medley and 400m freestyle. In fact the teenager departed with a suitcase stuffed full of medals, collecting a silver and bronze in the 50m and 100m freestyle S11 respectively.

Vincenzo Boni, Italy, men’s S3

At his first Europeans in 2016, Boni emerged as the champion in the 50m backstroke S3.

That followed up on silver from the World Championships in the year before where, on his debut, he also left with two medals in the 50m and 200m freestyle S3.

Boni has continued to improve this season, taking the lead at the top of the rankings in the 50m backstroke S3 in June.

Shokhsanamkhon Toshpulatova, Uzbekistan, women’s S13

When Toshpulatova took to the water on her international debut at the European Open, few could have predicted her incredible performances.

With an impressive 10 Asian records across six events, often in both the heats and finals, the 19-year-old made sure everyone knew who she was.

Toshpulatova also managed to convert her record-breaking performances into silverware, leaving with a gold in the 200m individual medley SM13. A further three medals in the 100m backstroke, 100m butterfly and 50m freestyle S13 followed.

Takya Tsugawa, Japan, men’s S14

As Japan build towards their home Paralympic Games in Tokyo in 2020, their medal prospects strengthen.

A new hope to emerge is Tsugawa, particularly in the men’s 100m backstroke. The 24-year-old is the 2014 Asian Para Games bronze medallist and is currently ranked third in the world.

His ambition is to win the Paralympic title in this event.


Sport fans from around the world can now buy their Paralympic tickets for Rio 2016 from authorised ticket resellers (ATRs)

The IPC’s Global ATR is Jet Set Sports, and Rio 2016 tickets and packages can be purchased on the CoSport website.

Residents of Brazil can buy 2016 Paralympics tickets directly from the Rio 2016 website.

Visa International is the exclusive payment card and the official payment system for the Paralympic Games.