In just a few weeks the world’s best para-swimmers will gather in Glasgow, Great Britain, for the 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships from 13-19 July.
Two years ago, the Championships were held for the first time in North America in Montreal, Canada, where nearly 500 swimmers from 60 countries began their road to Rio 2016 following the huge success of London 2012.
The venue was the Parc Jean Drapeau Aquatics Complex, located next to the iconic USA pavilion from the 1967 World Fair Expo and Gilles Villeneuve race circuit on St. Helen’s Island.
An incredible 43 world records were set at Montreal 2013, including four by Belarusian Ihar Boki.
After winning five gold medals at his first Paralympic Games at London 2012, the then 18-year-old was keen to retain, and improve, on his four world titles from 2010 in style.
And he did just that, setting new marks in the heats and finals of the 100m freestyle S13, 400m freestyle S13 and 200 individual medley SM13. The gold in the 100m freestyle was a ten place improvement on his 2010 performance, cementing the youngster as one of his country’s best and brightest.
A large Ukrainian team were also in Canada looking for a strong performance and ended the week at the top of the medals table with a stunning 84 medals, including 33 golds.
Perhaps spurred on by missing out on Paralympic glory the year before, Dmytro Vynohradets was their star performer, leaving Montreal with seven men’s S3 golds and the title of most decorated athlete alongside teammate Olga Sviderska in women’s S3.
The hosts of Glasgow 2015 meanwhile finished third in the standings, with 18 wins under their belts. The Great British team featured some of their biggest names, with four-time Paralympic champion Ellie Simmonds leaving with three women’s S6 titles.
Glasgow youngster Andrew Mullen kept his powder dry on his rivalry with Brazil’s multiple world and Paralympic champion Daniel Dias, taking home two silvers and a bronze in the men’s S5.
Canada’s Benoit Huot delighted his home crowds by winning the men’s 200m individual medley SM10, his favourite event and a title that he has held since 2002.
Fans at the Parc Jean Drapeau also saw Canadian Aurelie Rivard make it onto the World Championships podium for the first time. Rivard’s five medals in women’s S10 marked the start of a new challenge to New Zealand’s six-time world champion Sophie Pascoe, with the pair edging closer in the world rankings in the intervening years.
Contributing to the strength of para-swimming in the Americas, Dias and teammate Andre Brasil continued their form by collecting a combined nine gold medals at the start of their journey to their home Paralympics.
As the excitement of para-swimming returns to British shores this summer courtesy of more than 580 swimmers from nearly 70 countries, many more great storylines are likely to be written.
Tickets for Glasgow 2015 are still available from GBP 10/15 for heats/finals and children under 16 go free (terms and conditions apply).
All seven days of action from the Tollcross International Swimming Centre will be shown live at Glasgow2015.com.