male Para swimmer Simone Barlaam

Simone Barlaam



Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Limb deficiency
Origin of Impairment
S9, SB8, SM9

Further personal information

Milan, ITA
Athlete, Model, Student
English, French, Italian
Higher education
Mechanical Engineering - Polytechnic University of Milan: Italy

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
He began swimming at age three. He took up Para swimming in 2015 in Milan, Italy.
Why this sport?
"I always swam as it was the only sport where my bones were not in danger of breaking as they are very fragile."
Club / Team
Polha Varese [ITA] / GS Fiamme Oro [ITA]:
Name of coach
Massimiliano Tosin [club]; Riccardo Vernole [national], ITA

International debut

Competing for

General interest

Nemo, Poppo, Clark Kent [because he looks like the fictional character]. (, 21 Dec 2017)
Drawing, video editing, travel. (Athlete, 09 Sep 2019)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning gold in the S9 50m freestyle at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (, 22 Feb 2022)
Most influential person in career
Coach Massimiliano Tosin, and Italian Para swimmer Federico Morlacchi. (Athlete, 09 Sep 2019)
Hero / Idol
Australian Para swimmer Matthew Cowdrey, Italian Para swimmer Federico Morlacchi, US basketball player Kobe Bryant. (Athlete, 09 Sep 2019)
Superstitions / Rituals / Beliefs
He listens to music before and after a competition. "My soundtrack is made up of hip hop and electronic dance music to give me energy before competitions, jazz and soul after to relax." (, 18 Mar 2020)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"The person with a disability is a person, it is not the disability that defines them. This is the point. I hate the fact that one becomes famous for what has happened to him and not for what he has done in life. It's wrong, you can't control what happens to you, you can only control what you do." (, 12 Nov 2020)
Awards and honours
He received the Diamond of Fame Award as Para Athlete of the Year for 2019 in Italy. (, 25 Feb 2020)

In 2019 he was presented with the Ambrogino d'Oro award by the city of Milan in Italy. (, 26 Aug 2021)

He was voted Best Male Swimmer at the 2019 World Championships in London, England, in a poll organised by World Para Swimming. (, 18 Oct 2019)

In 2017 he received the Collare d'Oro al Merito Sportivo [Golden Collar for Sporting Merit] from the Italian Olympic Committee [CONI]. (, 19 Dec 2017)
Other sports
He competed in Para triathlon at the 2014 Italian Championships. (, 25 Aug 2018)
To compete alongside able-bodied swimmers at the Olympic Games. (, 12 Nov 2020;, 12 Feb 2019)
He was born with a malformation of the hip and hypoplasia of the right femur. He has undergone a number of surgical procedures. "I had my first surgery after 10 days of life, and between then and age 12 I underwent 12 operations, including a very painful leg lengthening." (, 13 Nov 2021;, 11 Apr 2021;, 12 Feb 2019;, 12 Dec 2017)
Other information
In 2017 he spent a year in Sydney, NSW, Australia, where he continued his high school studies, learned English and prepared for the 2017 World Championships. "The turning point in my life was spending my year 11 of high school in Australia. It was the first time I had left home, my parents, my sister, and Italy. I went to a country on the other side of the world where I didn't know anyone. Spending a year overseas was a dream I'd had since I was a child. Leaving my comfort zone helped me grow as a person and start understanding how to achieve things. It opened my mind up. Now I define myself as a citizen of the world." (, 28 Mar 2019;, 22 Dec 2017;, 21 Dec 2017;, 12 Dec 2017)

His father Riccardo works as a journalist and made a documentary titled 'I Pesci Combattenti' [The Fighting Fish] about the Italian Para swimming team in the lead-up to the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. "The film introduced a lot of people to Italian Para swimmers, and now I am one of them," Simone said. (, 18 Oct 2019)

He hopes to become a prosthetic designer through his studies of mechanical engineering at the Polytechnic University of Milan in Italy. "I would like to become a mechanical engineer, and help create prostheses for various types of impairments. One of my dreams is to design the lightest prosthetic." He also plans to use his love for drawing in his future profession. "I'd like to publish a graphic novel or an illustration book. It is my way to reach nirvana, to isolate myself in a bubble. When I'm alone with the paper, I detach myself from the world." (Paralympic Games YouTube channel, 30 Sep 2020;, 18 Mar 2020;, 12 Nov 2020)


Unit Date Rank
Mexico City 2017 World Para Swimming Championships (Mexico City, Mexico)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 100 m Backstroke S9 Heat 1 2017-12-02 6
Men's 4x100 m Freestyle 34pts Final 1 2017-12-02 2
Men's 100 m Backstroke S9 Final 1 2017-12-02 3
Men's 100 m Freestyle S9 Heat 2 2017-12-04 1
Men's 100 m Freestyle S9 Final 1 2017-12-04 1
Men's 50 m Freestyle S9 Heat 2 2017-12-07 1
Men's 50 m Freestyle S9 Final 1 2017-12-07 1