Tokyo Paralympics preview: Para swimming day 3

A closer look at all the action taking place on the third day of competition at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre on 27 August 12 Aug 2021
A man in the pool smiles with a thumbs up
Two-time world champion in the men's 200m individual medley SM7, Colombia's Carlos Serrano will be chasing Paralympic glory in Tokyo on day three
ⒸBuda Mendes/Getty Images
By Filip Ozbolt | For World Para Swimming

Para swimming action will continue at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games with 14 finals on day three on Friday, 27 August.

The morning session in the Tokyo Aquatics Centre is reserved for the heats followed by the finals and victory ceremonies in the afternoon.

The men’s 100m backstroke S12 will be the first medal event with the afternoon session starting at 5:00 pm (Tokyo time).

Ukraine’s Sergii Klippert is the man to beat as the reigning Paralympic champion from Rio 2016. The 32-year-old Klippert won two silvers at the Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Paralympic games adding them to his remarkable medals tally in the 100m backstroke S12. He also won the silver medal at the Glasgow 2015 World Championships, as well as two European Championship medals.

His compatriot Iaroslav Denysenko will be Klippert’s main threat in Tokyo. He is the reigning world champion and Dublin 2018 European Championships gold medallist. Denysenko is coming to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in fine form as the fastest man of the year in the event setting the best time at the World Series in Berlin in June.

Raman Salei from Azerbaijan is another name worth highlighting in the event. He is the second-fastest Para swimmer of the season and the reigning European champion from Madeira in May. Salei, who represented Belarus at the start of his career, is also the Rio 2016 Paralympics and London 2019 World Championships silver medallist.

Great Britain has high hopes for Hannah Russell in the women’s 100m backstroke S12. She is the world record holder and defending Paralympic champion. Her number of accolades is even bigger with one world and three European titles added to Russell’s name.

Daria Pikalova, representing the RPC, will be Russell’s main rival for the Paralympic title. She won the European Championships this year setting the best time in 2021 on her way to gold.

Maria Delgado Nadal from Spain is the bronze medallist from Rio 2016, as well as a two-time World and European Championships medallist.

Day three will see lots of action in backstroke races. Next up will be the men’s 100m backstroke S8 with two favourites for the gold medal. USA’s Robert Griswold is the back-to-back world champion and the fastest man in the event this year.

The second-fastest swimmer in 2021 is Inigo Llopis Sanz from Spain. He is the current European champion, as well as the bronze medallist from the London 2019 Worlds.

Women’s 100m backstroke S8, men’s and women’s 200m freestyle S14

Paralympic legend Jessica Long from the USA will make her first appearance at Tokyo 2020 in the women’s 100m backstroke S8. She is the favourite to gold as a three-time Paralympic medallist and three-time world champion in the event.

RPC’s Viktoriia Ishchiulova is coming to Tokyo in fine form after winning the European Championships title in Madeira in May where she set the fastest time this year.

One of the most spectacular events on day three will be the men’s 200m freestyle S14. Great Britain’s Thomas Hamer made a return to the pool after almost a year and a half of absence with a silver medal at the Madeira 2020 European Championships. He will be keen to improve on his silver medal from the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

His compatriot Reece Dunn is the reigning world champion and the world record holder, but his start of the season was not convincing. He set the fifth-best time in the world this year in April at the Sheffield World Series.

Liam Schluter from Australia is the fastest man this year with a time set in Adelaide in June. Right behind him is Brazil’s Gabriel Bandeira who won the European Open Championships with a new Americas record on the way to victory.

Brits have high hopes in the women’s 200m freestyle S14 as well. Bethany Firth leads the way with the fastest time in 2021. She is also the world record holder and Paralympic champion from Rio 2016.

Her compatriot Jessica-Jane Applegate is the silver medallist from the last Games. She is in great form this year winning the Euros in Madeira together with the second-best time in 2021. Pernilla Lindberg from Sweden finished second in this year’s European Championships and has one world title from Mexico City 2017 to her name.

Men’s and women’s 50m freestyle S11

The world's fastest vision-impaired swimmers will be in the pool next. In the men’s 50m freestyle S11 final, Mexico City 2017 world champion and Madeira 2020 European champion Edgaras Matakas will be going for his Paralympic medal in the event. The Lithuanian set the fastest time this year during the Euros in May.

Brazil’s Wendell Belarmino is the second-fastest man in 2021 and the reigning world champion from London 2019.

Karolina Pelendritou from Cyprus is the world record holder in the women’s 50m freestyle S11 with a time set at the Berlin Word Series in June. Liesette Bruinsma from the Netherlands and Jia Ma from China, are second and third on this year's ranking.

Bruinsma is also the bronze medallist from the Rio 2016 Paralympics, silver medallist from the London 2019 Worlds, and Dublin 2018 Euros. Maryna Piddubna from Ukraine is another contender for the medal as the reigning world and European champion.


Men’s and women’s 50m freestyle S5

The men’s 50m freestyle S5 event promises to be one of the most exciting on day three. China’s Tao Zheng set the fastest time of the year in June at the World Series in Berlin. He is the world record holder as well.

His compatriot Weiyi Yuan swam the second-best time of the season in the same race. Yaroslav Semenenko from Ukraine and Brazilian legend Daniel Dias are the other candidates to win a medal in Tokyo.

Semenenko is the two-time European Championships medallist and a silver medal winner from the London 2019 Worlds, while Dias has three Paralympic and four World Championship medals in the event.

Refugee Paralympic Team (RPT) athlete Abbas Karimi will also compete in the race. He was the silver medallist at the Mexico City 2017 World Championships and sixth-placed two years later in London.

China’s Lu Dong is the fastest Para swimmer in the women’s 50m freestyle S5 event this year and the favourite to gold in Tokyo.


Men’s and women’s 200m individual medley SM7

The men’s 200m individual medley SM7 is most likely going to be a duel between two swimmers. Ukraine’s Yevhenii Bohodaiko is the world record holder, two-time Paralympic champion, world champion from Glasgow 2015 and European champion from Madeira in May.

Carlos Serrano from Colombia is the reigning back-to-back world champion and the fastest man in the event in 2021. Israeli Para swimmer Mark Malyar is the second-fastest, while USA’s Evan Austin lies in third place.

In the women’s competition, the 200m individual medley SM7 promises to be an all-USA affair. Mallory Weggemann is the world record holder, two-time World Championships medallist, and a Parapan American Games champion from Toronto 2015. She is also the fastest Para swimmer in the event this year.

Her compatriot Julia Gaffney set the second-best time of the year at the World Series in Lewisville in April and she will be Weggemann’s biggest threat as the reigning world champion.

The third best time of the season also belongs to an US athlete. The 21-year-old Ahalya Lettenberger swam it in Minneapolis at the US National Trials.


Men’s and women’s 400m freestyle S13

The last two finals of day three belong to men’s and women’s 400m freestyle S13. Ihar Boki is the clear favourite in his third event in as many days. The Belarusian is the two-time Paralympic, three-time world and three-time European champion in the event. He also owns the fastest time in 2021.

Italy's Carlotta Gilli will also compete in her third event in as many days. She is the fastest athlete across the event in 2021, but not the clear favourite for gold in Tokyo. Gilli is the bronze medallist from the London 2019 Worlds, silver medallist from the Mexico City 2017 Worlds, and silver medallist from Madeira 2020 Euros.

Ukraine’s Anna Stetsenko snatched the gold medal in Madeira, while she also has a Paralympics silver and two second places at the World Championships.

Complete schedule and results from the Para swimming competition at Tokyo 2020 will be available on