World Series 2019: Melbourne ready for season-opener14.02.2019
Australia host event for first time with swimmers from more than 15 countries
The waiting will soon be over for almost 150 of the world’s leading Para swimmers, with the third edition of the World Para Swimming World Series set to begin in Melbourne, Australia, on Friday (15 February).
Following on from the hugely successful 2017 and 2018 events, Melbourne will see swimmers on the blocks in the first of seven stops across four continents between February and June this year as they bid to follow in the wake of 2018 champions Daniel Dias (Brazil) and Louise Fiddes (Great Britain) as the best performers over the duration over the four-month series.
“To host the first meet of the 2019 international World Para Swimming season is a real coup for Melbourne.Attracting high-high-calibre athletes from around the world will provide our swimmers with valuable race experience"
It is the first time the World Series has travelled to Australia, one of the global heartlands of the sport, while Singapore will also take its bow as a host of the high-profile event this year.
Other countries to welcome visitors for the World Series 2019 will be USA, Brazil, Great Britain and Italy, before the events reaches its climax in Berlin, Germany, in early June.
With swimmers from more than 15 countries contesting 64 events over the three-day meet, this weekend’s World Series will give an early indication of the swimmers to watch in the lead-up to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Among the stars going through their paces from 15-17 February in Melbourne will be six-time Paralympic Games gold medallist Ellie Cole (AUS), who goes in the 100m breaststroke, freestyle and backstroke multi-class events, along with fellow countryman and multiple Paralympic gold medallist Brendan Hall.
New Zealand’s most-decorated Paralympian, Sophie Pascoe, will also be in action in the beautiful setting of the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre, which hosted the Commonwealth Games in 2006 and the diving events at the 2007 FINA World Championships.
Others to make the trip down under include exciting youngsters Mei Ichinose of Japan, France’s teenage backstroke sensation Ugo Didier and the reigning Paralympic champion at 50m and 100m backstroke S2 Yip Pin Xiu of Singapore.
“To host the first meet of the 2019 international World Para Swimming season is a real coup for Melbourne and speaks volumes about the facilities we have in Australia,” said Adam Pine, Swimming Australia’s general manager for Paralympic and Open Water Programs.
“Attracting high-high-calibre athletes from around the world will provide our swimmers with valuable race experience as they set their sights on the World Para Swimming Championships later this year,” Pine added.
Competition starts from 09:00 Australian Eastern Standard Time on Friday 15 February (23:00 Thursday 14 February CET), with the second session from 18:00 AEDT (08:00 Friday CET).