The Pan Pacific Para-Swimming Championships featuring some of the best swimmers in the world from the Americas and Oceania will get underway on Wednesday (6 August) in Pasadena, California, USA, running through to Sunday (10 August)
In total 19 countries will be sending swimmers to the PanPacs including many Paralympic and world champion swimmers from Australia, Brazil, Canada, New Zealand, Russia and South Africa in what is one of the biggest swim meets of the year.
One of the freshest rivalries in para-swimming is to set to ignite in Pasadena with 15-year-old Australian Maddison Elliott lining up against the USA’s 12-time Paralympic champion Jessica Long.
Elliott first introduced herself to the world at London 2012 as the youngest member of Australia’s gold-medal winning relay team.
She then surprised everyone by winning the world title last year in the 100m freestyle S8, beating Long the three-time Paralympic champion in the event.
Showing it was no fluke, Elliot broke Long’s world record in the event last month at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
In the S10 class, there are a host of top stars competing, including Brazil’s seven-time Paralympic gold medallist Andre Brasil.
Brasil will be put under intense pressure from Canada’s seven-time Paralympic champion Benoit Huot and the USA’s Ian Silverman, who won gold in the S10 400m freestyle at London 2012 and has smashed two world records this year.
Silverman, who is attending the University of Southern California later this year to further develop his swimming career, will also have the strong backing of the home crowd and has high hopes for the event.
“I’m feeling pretty confident. I’m definitely excited to go out there and race,” Silverman told the US Paralympic Committee.
“I’m training hard and training very well. I’m excited to go out there and race some of the best competition in the world and see where I stand. It’s a pretty good benchmark leading into Rio to see where I’m at and what I need to improve on.
“I definitely want to contend for the podium in hopefully all of my events and definitely win the 400 freestyle.”
Also competing in Pasadena is Brazil’s Daniel Dias, who won an incredible six gold medals at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, and Australia’s Matthew Cowdrey, a 13-time Paralympic gold medallist.
One athlete who will not be making the trip to Pasadena is New Zealand’s Sophie Pascoe. After winning double gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, she has been forced to return home because of illness.
In-depth coverage of the event, including daily rounds-ups featuring Paralympian Mallory Weggemann, can be found at www.swimswam.com