Indianapolis, USA, will host the last Para Swimming World Series of the 2022 season from 7 to 9 April (Thursday to Saturday).
The IU Natatorium in downtown Indianapolis will welcome around 150 athletes from 15 National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) representing four regions: Americas, Europe, Asia and Oceania.
LONG LEADING THE WAY
For most Para swimmers, Indianapolis 2022 will be the last taste of international competition ahead of the Madeira 2022 World Para Swimming Championships. The biggest ever Para sport event held in Portugal will take place from 12 to 18 June.
The US contingent in Indianapolis will count with around 80 athletes, most of them jumping into the pool for the first time since the U.S. Paralympics Swimming National Championships at the Greensboro Aquatic Centre from 17 to 19 December.
The Para Swimming World Series will be their first international competition since the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games last September.
The 30-year-old Jessica Long will undoubtedly be the biggest local star swimming in Indianapolis. Long won six medals in Tokyo (including three golds) taking her Paralympic medal tally to 29.
With 16 golds, eight silvers and five bronze medals, Long is currently the third most successful female Para swimmer in Paralympic history.
Emerging stars Gia Pergolini and Anastasia Pagonis will also make an appearance after a successful Games debut in Tokyo. The 17-year-old social media sensation Pagonis took gold in the women's 400m freestyle S11 combining it with bronze in the 200m individual medley SM11.
The 18-year-old Pergolini bagged the gold medal in the women's 100m backstroke S13. She is already preparing for her third World Championships making her debut at Mexico City 2017.
Besides the three USA gold medallists, there will be other six Tokyo 2020 Paralympic champions attending the Indianapolis 2022 World Series.
McKenzie Coan, Morgan Stickney, Elizabeth Marks, Mallory Weggemann, Hannah Aspden and Mikaela Jenkins will all take on the pool at the IU Natatorium until Saturday.
Tupou Neiufi of New Zealand is the biggest international star coming to Indianapolis. The 20-year-old Para swimmer from Auckland is the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic champion in the women's 100m backstroke S8.
She will be accompanied by another Tokyo medallist, Mexico’s Nely Miranda Herrera, who took bronze in the women's 50m breaststroke SB3.
MORE CHAMPIONS IN MEN’S COMPETITION
Mexico will be represented by two Paralympic champions in the men’s events in Indianapolis. The 43-year-old Arnulfo Castorena is the three-time Paralympic gold medallist and the Tokyo 2020 champion in the 50m breaststroke SB2.
His compatriot Diego Lopez Diaz is a five-time world champion and three-time Paralympic medallist from Tokyo 2020. He took gold in the 50m freestyle S3.
The 37-year-old Alberto Abarza will be amongst the six athletes representing Chile at this year’s World Series. He is the Tokyo 2020 champion in the 100m backstroke S2 and also picked two silver medals in Japan.
Abarza is a three-time Parapan American Games champion and a has five World Championships medals to his name.
Australia is sending another Paralympic medallist to Indianapolis. The 17-year-old Alexander Tuckfield will participate in four events with the 400m freestyle being his strongest race. Tuckfield picked a bronze in the 400m freestyle S10 at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
Team USA is fielding a strong squad for the Indianapolis 2022 World Series in the men’s competition as well. All of the five Tokyo 2020 medallist will participate, including the two-time Paralympic champion Robert Griswold.
The 29-year-old Evan Austin will take on the competition in Indianapolis in three events including the 50m butterfly in which he currently holds the S7 Paralympic and world titles.
Jamal Hill, Matthew Torres and David Abrahams are the other three US medallists from Tokyo in action at the fifth World Series of the Para swimming season.
The first four competitions of the year took place in Aberdeen (Great Britain), Melbourne (Australia), Lignano Sabbiadoro (Italy) and Berlin (Germany).
The World Para Swimming Points System is used at the World Series competitions to calculate athletes’ results. At the end of the season the top female and male swimmers are declared season winners.
Indianapolis 2022 will be streamed live on the World Para Swimming website and on U.S Paralympics Swimming. Live results will be available here.