World Series lands in Great Britain for major test ahead of 2023 Worlds

Sheffield hosts 311 athletes from 36 countries from Thursday to Sunday only 64km away from the home of this year's World Championships 15 Mar 2023
A female swimmer smiling from inside the pool
Great Britain's Maisie Summers-Newton bagged three gold medals at last year's World Championships in Madeira
ⒸOctavio Passos/Getty Images
By Victor Pereira | For World Para Swimming

Five days after Lignano Sabbiadoro, the Citi Para Swimming World Series lands in Great Britain for another four-day event in the third leg of the 2023 season from Thursday to Sunday (16 to 19 March).

The Ponds Forge International Swimming Centre in Sheffield welcomes the competition again after two years marking an important test ahead of the World Championships that will take place just 64 kilometres away from there in Manchester from 31 July to 6 August.

For most of the 311 athletes from 36 countries attending the Citi Para Swimming World Series Great Britain 2023, such as two-time Paralympic champion Maisie Summers-Newton, the World Championships is the main goal of the season.

“Hopefully, [I want to] qualify for the World Championships and then get to Manchester. I’m really looking forward to it,” British star Summers-Newton said. “Swimming fast, doing some really solid work in training, working kind of all different strokes are some other goals for the season to lead to there.”

The British swimmer picked three gold medals at last year’s World Championships in Madeira and says she is feeling good for this season but does not want to put too much pressure on herself.

Racing among friends

Summers-Newton (S6) will swim the women’s 400m freestyle and the events in which she got gold at Tokyo 2020, the 100m breaststroke and 200m medley. 

The medley race will see Summers-Newton competing alongside teammate Bethany Firth in the multiclass event. Firth is one of the fresh memories she has from the first time competing close to family and friends.

“It was 2014 in Glasgow, and I just remember watching all the athletes upcoming there, like Jonathan Fox, Hannah Russell, Bethany Firth. They were all just incredible and so inspiring to watch. And I think that’s why it’s so important to have these events in our country, so athletes like me could’ve watched them and become who we are today”, Summers-Newton added.

Besides the women’s 200m medley, Firth (S14) will be in the pool for the 100m and 200m freestyle, 100m butterfly, and 100m backstroke.

Stephen Clegg and Reece Dunn are among the 27 male athletes who will be chasing gold medals for the host nation in the World Series. 

Dunn (S14) will be in the pool for the 100m and 200m freestyle, same event he became Paralympic champion at Tokyo 2020, and 100m butterfly; while Clegg (S12) will compete in the 50m and 100m freestyle, and the events he grabbed gold at Madeira 2022, 100m backstroke and 100m butterfly.

China's great return

Brazil will be a strong rival for the hosts, especially after topping the medals table in the Citi World Series in Lignano Sabbiadoro last weekend. 

Paralympic champion Gabriel Araujo (S2) will swim the same events he bagged five golds in Italy: 50m and 100m freestyle, 150m medley, 50m backstroke and 50m butterfly. Araujo will also dive in the pool for the 100m backstroke and 200m freestyle events.

The World Series Great Britain 2023 also marks the return of the Chinese Team to the international stage since the Paralympic Games in Tokyo. 

China has the largest delegation among the visitors with 48 swimmers including plenty of Paralympic champions such as Liankang Zou (men’s 50m backstroke S3), Hongguang Jia (men’s 100m backstroke S6), and Jingang Wang (men’s 50m butterfly S6). 

Among the female athletes there will be three Tokyo 2020 gold medallists: Jia Ma (50m freestyle S11 and 200m individual medley SM11), Guizhi Li (100m freestyle S11), and Li Zhang (200m freestyle S5).

The Citi World Series Great Britain will be streamed live on British Swimming YouTube channel. World Para Swimming Facebook page will show all the finals live.