Day seven of the Para swimming competition programme at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will be one to remember. There are 14 sets of medals up for grabs in the afternoon session starting from 5:00 pm (Tokyo time) on Tuesday, 31 August.
The competition will be heating up with only four days to go in the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.
First up will be the longest race of the day, the men’s 400m freestyle S8. RPC’s Andrei Nikolaev is the man to beat as the reigning world and European champion from the London 2019 World Championships and the Madeira 2020 European Championships.
He is the second-fastest Para swimmer of the year behind the USA’s Matthew Torres who set his season-best at the US National Trials in Minneapolis in June.
His compatriot Robert Griswold is another candidate for a medal in Tokyo as the silver medallist from the last two World Championships. He is the fourth-fastest man in the event in 2021. Italian Alberto Amodeo squeezed in third place a month and a half ago at a competition in Naples.
Jessica Long’s name is the most familiar for Para swimming fans in the women’s 400m freestyle S8. The US swimmer is the three-time Paralympic champion and five-time world champion in the race. At the last World Championships in London Long took bronze. She is the second-fastest in 2021 behind her compatriot Morgan Stickney who won the race at the Lewisville World Series in April.
Italy’s Xenia Francesca Palazzo is the silver medallist from London 2019 and reigning back-to-back European champion. She set the third-fastest time in the event this year at the Euros in Madeira in May.
Men’s and women’s 100m freestyle S12
Ukraine’s Yaroslav Denysenko and Azerbaijan’s Raman Salei are leading the pack in the men’s 100m freestyle S12. Denysenko set the fastest time in 2021 at the Berlin World Series in June, while Salei sits in second place with the season-best set at the Euros in Madeira in May. He won the title there, as well as the bronze medal at the Worlds in 2019.
Denysenko is the world champion from London 2019 and also has the European title from Dublin 2018 in his collection. Braedan Jason from Australia is the third-fastest man this year in the event.
An exciting event awaits in the women’s 100m freestyle S12. Maria Gomes Santiago is the one of the favourites for the gold medal as the reigning world champion from London 2019 and the fastest Para swimmer in 2021. The Brazilian set her fastest time of the year at the National Trials in Sao Paulo in June.
RPC’s Daria Pikalova is the second in the rankings this year. She has had an amazing year so far winning the European Championships in Madeira in May. The silver medal went to Italy’s Alessia Berra who had to settle for the same medal three years ago at the Euros in Dublin.
Great Britain’s Hannah Russell won the gold back then. This year, Russell is the fourth-fastest Para swimmer setting her season-best at the first World Series of the season in Sheffield.
Men’s and women’s 200m individual medley SM14
Some of the podium contenders in the men’s 200m individual medley SM14 have already met this year at the Madeira 2020 European Open Championships in May.
Brazil’s Gabriel Bandeira set the fastest time in 2021 with a new Americas record. The second place went to Ukraine’s Vasyl Krainyk who is the European champion from Dublin 2018 and bronze medallist from the Worlds in London a year later. RPC’s Mikhail Kuliabin won bronze and set the third-fastest time of the year.
Japan’s Dai Tokairin and Marc Evers from the Netherlands are other notable athletes in action in the men’s 200m SM14 at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. Tokairin is the biggest Japanese hope as the reigning world champion and world record holder in the event. Evers is the defending Paralympic champion And a two-time World Championships medallist.
The women’s 200m individual medley SM14 is also packed with quality entries. Great Britain’s Bethany Firth is the defending Paralympic champion. She also set the fastest time in the event this year in Dublin in April. At the last World Championships in London in 2019, she took silver.
Australia’s Paige Leonhardt is the second-fastest this year. She set her best result in Adelaide in June at the National Trials. Sweden's Pernilla Lindberg comes next in the rankings. She is the reigning European champion from Madeira in May and a world champion from Mexico City 2017.
Another medal hopeful is Great Britain’s Louise Fiddes. The 20-year-old won bronze at the Dublin 2018 Euros and London 2019 Worlds. Her best result of the year from Manchester in February is the fifth best in the season.
Men’s 50m breaststroke SB2, women’s 50m breaststroke SB3
Next in the pool will be the men's 50m breaststroke SB2 final. Mexico’s Arnulfo Castorena is the standout performer in the event as the reigning world champion and the fastest man in 2021.
His compatriots Jesus Hernandez and Christopher Tronco are lying in third and fourth place of this year's rankings. Australia's Grant Patterson from Australia has the second best time of the year while Ioannis Kostakis from Greece is another name to watch out for as the bronze medallist from London 2019.
Female swimmers will also compete in the 50m breaststroke but in a different class. They will fight for medals in the SB3 where the US Para swimmer Leanne Smith leads the way as the reigning world champion. She is the second-fastest in the event this year.
Maryna Verbova from Ukraine and Mexico’s Patricia Valle have plenty of success in the race in recent years. Valle is the bronze medallist from the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, as well as the bronze medallist from the last two editions of the World Championships.
Verbova won silver at the London 2019 Worlds and won the European title in Madeira in May this year.
Men’s 50m freestyle S7, women’s 100m freestyle S7
Following up on the breaststroke events will be the men’s 50m freestyle S7 final. Ukraine’s Andrii Trusov will look to continue his dominance in the event as the world record holder, reigning world champion, and back-to-back European champion. He also set the fastest time of the year at the Euros in May.
His compatriot Yevhenii Bohodaiko won a silver medal in Madeira repeating his result from the previous European Championships in Dublin. He also has a silver from Rio 2016 Paralympics and a bronze from the London 2019 Worlds.
Colombia’s Carlos Serrano will be fighting for medals with Trusov and Bohodaiko as he was in Rio when he took bronze.
The race will be followed by the women's 100m freestyle S7 with USA’s McKenzie Coan appearing as the favourite to top the podium again. She is the defending Paralympic champion and back-to-back world champion.
Coan also tops the 2021 leaderboard ahead of Italy’s Giulia Terzi. The 26-year-old Terzi is the bronze medallist from the London 2019 Worlds and took the European title in Madeira this year. London 2019 silver medallist Denise Grahl from Germany is another medal contender.
Men’s and women’s 100m butterfly S10
The battle for gold in the men’s 100m butterfly S10 is likely to be between Ukraine’s Maksym Krypak and Italy’s Stefano Raimondi.
Krypak is the silver medallist from Rio 2016 Paralympics and has enjoyed more success in recent years as the world champion at London 2019 and European champion in Madeira this year. He also set the fastest time of the year at the Euros where Raimondi finished second.
The Italian had to settle for second place at the London 2019 Worlds as well. He won his first international medal in the event at the Dublin 2018 European Championships finishing third behind Krypak and his compatriot Denys Dubrov.
USA’s Mikaela Jenkins leads the way in the women’s 100m butterfly S10 as the reigning world champion. She is the second-fastest Para swimmer in 2021 with a time set at the World Series in Lewisville.
Surprisingly, Australia’s 17-year-old sensation Jasmine Greenwood is the fastest in the event this year. She swam her season-best result at the National Trials in Adelaide in June.
Italy’s Alessia Scortechini and Poland’s Oliwia Jablonska are also the ones to watch in Tokyo. Scortechini is the world champion from Mexico City 2017 and the reigning European champion from Madeira. Jablonska won silver in Madeira but has a Paralympic bronze medal from Rio 2016 to her name.
Women’s 100m freestyle S9, mixed 4x100m freestyle relay 49 pts
The last individual event of day seven is the women’s 100m freestyle S9 where New Zealand's Sophie Pascoe will be chasing more gold. The 28-year-old from Christchurch is the reigning world champion and world record holder.
She is the fourth-fastest this year with Spain’s Sarai Gascon sitting in the first place. Gascon is the two-time Paralympic medallist, three-time Worlds medallist, and a three-time European champion in the event.
London 2019 bronze medallist, Great Britain’s Toni Shaw is the second-fastest this year. Portugal’s Susana Veiga could make an upset in Tokyo.
The mixed 4x100m freestyle relay 49 pts will be the last medal event on day seven. Team Ukraine is the dominant force in the relay in the last couple of years as the reigning world champions and back-to-back European title holders.
Complete schedule and results from Para swimming at Tokyo 2020 will be available on Paralympic.org.