The Mexican National Paralympic Committee has announced the 19 swimmers that will represent the country at Rio 2016, three more than at London 2012.
“This is going to be my second Paralympic Games, I am meeting my objectives and believe can perform good in Rio,” said triple Parapan American champion Luis Armando Andrade.
“I will try to reach the podium in the 100m butterfly S8.”
Highlighting the team are seven Paralympic medallists: Juan Ignacio Reyes, Patricia Valle, Nely Miranda, Gustavo Sánchez, Arnulfo Castorena, Doramitzi González and Pedro Rangel.
“I feel happy and proud to represent my country at Rio 2016,” said Valle, who will compete this year at her fifth successive Paralympic Games.
“I want to climb onto the first step of the podium again. Besides, thanks to my experience I will be able to help the younger swimmers to get better prepared for the Games.”
Juan Ignacio Reyes Gonzalez
Gustavo Ramon Sanchez Martinez
Edgar Hugo Pineda Castro
Jose Arnulfo Castorena Velez
Pedro Rangel Haro
Diego Lopez Diaz
Cristopher Gregorio Tronco Sanchez
Luis Armando Andrade Guillen
Raul Alberto Martinez Valdes
Nely Edith Miranda Herrera
Patricia Valle Benitez
Stefanny Rubi Cristino Zapata
Vianney Marlen Trejo Delgadillo
Valeria Monserrat Lopez Gomez
Doramitzi Gonzalez Hernandez
Haidee Viviana Aceves Perez
Maria de Jesus Delgadillo Monsivais
Fabiola Ramirez Martinez
Italy’s Vincenzo Boni will make his Paralympic debut at Rio 2016, where he aims to “sing the Italian national anthem after one of my events.”
The 28-year-old burst onto the sporting scene at the 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships in Glasgow, Great Britain, winning one silver and three bronze.
“That was my first international competition and I was so afraid of failing,” he said.
“I was very nervous, but in the end could do what I planned and achieved good results!”
Earlier this month, Boni shined at the European Open Championships in Funchal, Portugal, where he claimed one gold, two silver and two bronze.
“I was a little bit more confident of my swimming capabilities in Funchal, but also knew that I should not underestimate my contenders,” said Boni, who holds the 100m backstroke S3 world record (01:39.86) and the 50m backstroke S3 European record (45.68).
With four months to go until the Paralympic Games, Boni is ready to take another big leap forward.
“I consider Funchal as a great starting point, but Rio is going to be a whole different story,” he said.
“There will be a lot of factors to consider such as anxiety and fear of failure. I will have to handle my emotions because competing at your first Paralympic Games is not an every-day thing.
“I want to do my best and not disappoint the people who believe in me. I hope to return to Italy with some good performances.”
Boni, who will compete in the 50m backstroke, 50m and 200m freestyle and the 4x50m freestyle 20pts events, mentions Russia’s 19-year old Alexander Makarov as one of his main rivals for Rio.
“Makarov performed really well in Funchal, pushing me to my limits, and will be a hard-to-beat swimmer in Rio as well,” he said.
“I would mention Ukraine’s world champion and Paralympic medallist Dmytro Vynohradets as another main contender. And China has really good swimmers to look out for, too.”
Boni is especially looking forward to the Rio 2016 Opening Ceremony, which he believes will be memorable.
“Rio is famous for its Carnival, so I am very curious about how the Opening Ceremony is going to be,” he said.
“I imagine the Paralympic Games will be a beautiful and colourful event.”
The Italian swimmer is training hard to meet his objectives in Rio and does not want to leave anything to chance.
“I am a self-motivated person. Swimming for me is a job. I train my body and my mind every day and pay attention to all the aspects of my practices,” he said.
“However, I still need to overcome my fears before starting a race.
“I cannot make any predictions on which results I will get in Rio. Don’t you know that people from Naples as me are superstitious? But I will give my best, be sure about that!”
Double-Parapan American champion Lorenzo Perez Escalona seeks to win Cuba’s first swimming Paralympic gold medal in history at Rio 2016.
The 30-year old won one silver in the 50m freestyle S6 and one bronze in the 100m freestyle S6 at London 2012.
Now, Perez Escalona feels prepared to take another leap forward and become Paralympic champion.
“I want to achieve what I could not in 2012: to climb the highest step of the Paralympic podium,” he said.
“I have been preparing for Rio 2016 for a long time and am much more experienced than I was in London, from where I left with a bitter taste. However, I feel confident that the story will be different this time and I will win the gold medal.
“I believe Rio is going to host the best Paralympic Games in history.”
Even though he did not meet the objectives he had previously set for London 2012, Perez Escalona recalls that Games as “the biggest event I have ever been to and the best experience I have ever lived as an athlete.
“I vividly remember each of my races and the emotion I felt when winning my so far two only Paralympic medals,” he said.
“These achievements are the reward for a life-long effort and a dream come true.”
Last year, Perez Escalona won two golds at the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games, where he also lowered Sweden’s Anders Olsson’s 100m freestyle S6 world record by 0.85 seconds (1:04.60).
“I have never felt as good as in Toronto, where I was at the prime of my abilities,” he said.
“Winning two golds was within my plans for the Parapan Am Games. I also expected to win gold in the 50m freestyle S6, but Colombia’s Nelson Crispin performed better than me and touched in first.
“Breaking the world record has shown me what I can achieve and made me believe that I can even set another one in the near future.”
With 100 days to go until Rio 2016, Lorenzo Perez is ready for the challenge.
“I never underestimate my opponents. If you qualify for the Paralympic Games, it means you are already a hard-to-beat athlete,” he said.
“I am used to giving the best I can in all of my trainings towards every event, even if it is a national or the Paralympics. That is what gives me confidence when competing and what makes me keep dreaming of winning the gold in Rio.”
Great Britain’s Six-time Paralympic gold medallist Sascha Kindred has spoken of his aims for another top performance with 100 days to go until the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
During a glittering career, the swimmer has so far won six gold, three silver and three bronze medals over five Paralympic Games between 1996 and 2012.
The 38-year-old knows that if he achieves personal bests in Rio, he will have good chances of adding more medals to his crammed trophy cabinet.
“My goal is to perform to the best of my ability,” said Kindred, who won one gold at last year’s IPC Swimming World Championships.
“I have been training very hard and hope to come away from the Paralympics with personal bests in my events.
“I am looking forward to racing in Rio, but also to enjoying the atmosphere and the Paralympic village environment, as well as supporting my teammates.
“I believe Rio 2016 is going to be awesome. Brazil is well-known for its carnivals and I am sure the competitions will be serious, but followed by a Rio style party.”
Among his toughest rivals, Kindred will face Brazil’s 200m backstroke S6 world record holder Talisson Glock, Colombia’s 100m freestyle S6 world champion Nelson Crispin and China’s 50m freestyle S6 Paralympic gold medallist Qing Xu.
“I will face very tight races,” he said.
Even after winning multiple titles, Kindred said he still feels motivated to achieve greater things.
“I love racing and try to push my body through boundaries and get quicker with age,” he said.
Kindred does not have doubts when it comes to mentioning the titles he remembers the most.
“The gold medal I won in the 100m individual medley S6 at Sydney 2000 because it was my first Paralympic title,” he said.
“Also the world title I achieved in the same event in Mar del Plata, Argentina, in 2002, when I broke the world record by seven seconds and was voted the world’s male swimmer of the year.
“The London 2012 Paralympic Games, where I won two silver medals, was amazing as well. Walking into the swimming pool whilst having the majority of the 17,000 fans cheering for you was out of this world.”
Since he competed at Atlanta 1996, Kindred believes the Paralympics have significantly grown.
“Stadiums are fuller, there is more media coverage, more awareness and more sponsors,” he said.
“The public respect more what it takes to be a Paralympian. In Atlanta, I felt the Games were amateur, whilst now the Games have professionalised, with a high competitive level across the different classification groups.”
Breaking through four years ago at the London 2012 Games, swimming golden star Missy Franklin (USA) was nominated among the world’s 50 most marketable athletes of 2016, an annual list produced by Sports Pro Media since 2010.
The list identifies athletes that will best carry a brand’s values during their sporting career.
Sports Pro explains that “the real challenge – and the job of the vast majority of marketers out there – is in identifying value for money. It is in the art of unearthing potential and in the business of finding a human hook on which to hang a brand story”
Missy Franklin, who is ranked 9th* this year, signed her first endorsement deal with Speedo, a long-time partner of FINA, in 2016, as well as other big brands.
Franklin confessed that: “Speedo is a brand I have trusted since I began swimming.”
Top three of this list includes:
1. Stephen Curry – Basketball, USA
2. Paul Pogba – Soccer, France
3. Virat Kohli – Cricket, India
*2015 ranking: 4
There are two things to know about Michael Phelps as he stands about one month until U.S. Olympic swim trials, and with almost two months until the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro:
1) He is svelte, sleek and powerful, and feeling as strong as he did in the lead-up to Beijing in ‘08.
2) He is nitpicking, finding fewer and fewer things to criticize after his most recent races.
After he swam the 200-meter individual medley in 1:57.90, the third-fastest time in the world in the event this year and Phelps’ fastest since 2003, Phelps critiqued his freestyle stroke.
“My freestyle isn’t that great,” the 22-time Olympic medalist said. “I’m never really too satisfied. I always like to have something to work on. My freestyle has come a long way over the last couple of months and it’s hopefully going to make an even bigger leap.
“I see I have speed and that was something I was kind of lacking for a while. I think the rest will just come.”
Phelps and his longtime coach, Bob Bowman, didn’t have many negatives to analyze after a meet in mid-April in which they focused on Phelps’ 200-meter races — the freestyle, butterfly and IM. He won two (butterfly, IM) and missed the ‘A’ final in the 200 free, though he ultimately swam a 1:48.21 in the ‘B’ final, the third-best time of a strong American field at the Mesa Arena Pro Swim series event. It was a meet that served as an unofficial tune-up to Olympic trials, which begin June 26 in Omaha.
When they don’t have many flaws to find, they nitpick, instead choosing specific areas such as a particular stroke or a type of turn to focus on in the weeks that follow.
In Mesa, Phelps looked good — really good, in fact. The 30-year-old said he hasn’t felt like this both physically and mentally since 2007-08, when he trained for and won those eight gold medals. His move to Arizona, which has been his home for almost a year, has been good to him. Phelps followed Bowman, who is now the head coach at Arizona State, to the desert to train together like they always have. The move was well-timed; it came after his arrest for drunken driving back home in Baltimore in September 2014, which led to a six-month suspension from USA Swimming and Phelps checking himself into a treatment program.
Since then, he said he has stopped drinking and he’s settled into life in Scottsdale with his fiancé, Nicole Johnson, who gave birth to their child, a son named Boomer, earlier this month.
Phelps insists Rio is his final Olympic Games. It’s unclear exactly what program he will swim at trials in June, or which events specifically he’s hoping to swim in Rio — outside of the butterfly, of course, and relays.
But what is getting clearer and clearer each time he dives into the pool is this: He’s ready, and thinks he’s getting close to having the final pieces of his own puzzle, one that he pieced together to perfection back in 2008.
“Did I ever think I’d be back to that level? No,” Phelps said. “But I think after last summer, after that little surprise — the first race at nationals (a 1:52.94 to win the 200 fly, his best time since breaking the world record in a high-tech suit six years before) — after that, I was like, ‘This is for real again.’ That was something I missed because it had been so long since I’ve felt that way.”
Speedo is pioneering a global swim movement for its latest campaign ‘Speedo Fit’, hoping to bring swimming into fitness routines around the world in its first TV campaign in over a decade.
The campaign has launched in over 50 markets globally. It is aimed specifically at the fitness enthusiast market, to encourage people to challenge the regime, with the brand message: ‘The most powerful thing you can do to your routine is to change it’.
The campaign ‘There’s fit and there’s Speedo fit’ features and champions other sports, to demonstrate how swimming can complement and improve fitness and training. It challenges people to question their current fitness regime and bring swimming into it, by advocating how sports can work together.
Speedo courted ad agency iris, which recently launched the Team Speedo ‘Winning Elements’ campaign, to elevate the reputation of the sport.
Part of a fully integrated campaign, the 60-second film will be shown in 1.20” and 30” formats, with assets available for adaption for local markets. The integrated campaign will be adopted globally in the 170 regions Speedo is present and will run across TVC, social, digital and print.
Andy Taylor, executive creative director, iris: “Elite athletes and fitness enthusiasts are constantly seeking out marginal gains to improve their performance. This film highlights one of the most significant, yet often overlooked, gains you can add to any fitness routine.”
Jamie Cornforth, VP of product and marketing, Speedo: “The idea was a completely different approach for Speedo, in looking at how swimming could actually benefit performance in other sports. We wanted to challenge convention and routine; the film we’ve created shows so much passion, focus and dedication that I hope it will encourage fitness fans to do the same, to help build a global swim movement.”
Defending Olympic 100-metre breaststroke champion, Cameron van der Burgh, predicts that it will take a world record to win gold in this event at the Rio Games later this year.
This means that Van der Burgh (TuksSwimming/HPC) will be in for a very tough challenge. Apart from having to set a new world record, he will have to do what only one swimmer has been able to do before, namely to successfully defend his Olympic 100m breaststroke title.
Statistics show that Japan’s Kosuke Kitajima was the only swimmer who accomplished this feat since the 1968 Games in Mexico. He won the gold medal at the 2004 Games in Athens as well as in 2008 in Beijing. In 2012 Van der Burgh won in London.
Judging by what has been happening over the past four years as far as the 100m breaststroke world record is concerned, it seem like the South African and Britain’s Adam Peaty will be the main protagonists in the final in Rio this year. Van der Burgh set a world record with his gold medal performance in London by winning in 58.46 seconds. This record was broken by Peaty last year when he swam 57.92.
Defending Olympic 100-metre breaststroke champion, Cameron van der Burgh, predicts that it will take a world record to win gold in this event at the Rio Games later this year.
In 2015, at the FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia, Peaty won in 58.52 and Van der Burgh was second in 58.59.
‘Peaty is a great competitor. We have had a great rivalry going over the past three years and I can honestly say that he has spurred me on. Together we have taken breaststroke to new heights. If we had told somebody beforehand that we would be swimming these times I don’t think he would have believed us. We have pushed each other and learned from each other. I firmly believe that you are never too old to learn from somebody else,’ the TuksSwimming/HPC- based swimmer said.
‘At the Games it will be a case of whoever is mentally toughest will win the gold medal. It is great to have a competitor of Peaty’s calibre because it makes the racing more exciting. My preparation has been going really well. You can say I am climbing the ladder to the top while Peaty is at the top where there is absolutely no room for error.’
Van der Burgh admitted that his ambition to win the gold medal is the main reason why he is prepared to make so many personal sacrifices.
‘The most important thing about winning an Olympic title is that it stays with you for life. World records get broken and sports fans don’t seem to really care who the world champions are. But when you win a gold medal at the Games you will be introduced as an Olympic Champion forever after. To be the first to touch the wall during the 100m breaststroke final at the London Games was definitely a life-changing experience for me and one of the proudest moments of my career. It is something I would like to repeat this year.’
The TuksSwimming/HPC-swimmer is going to Europe next week as part of his final preparation for Rio. He plans to compete in the Mare Nostrum Series, as well as in a few other events. He will also train in Turkey for two weeks before going to the SA training camp in Fort Lauderdale in the USA.
Ed Moses is already an Olympic champion, having won gold with the US 4x100m medley relay team at the 2000 Games, but he’ll add another amazing achievement to his resume if he makes an appearance in Rio this year.
The 35-year-old last swam competitively in 2012 at the Olympic trials for London. In fact, that was the last time he swam at all — before a couple of weeks ago.
Completely out of the swimming loop, he hadn’t even thought about the sport when fellow Olympian Ryan Lochte asked him what his plans in the pool were. That sparked him into action, and he decided he’d like to try out for the Olympic team going to Brazil later this year.
“When (Ryan) Lochte asked me if I was going a few weeks ago, I realised I had to do something,” Moses was quoted as saying by Swim Swam. “So last week I posted on social media asking what the time to qualify in the 100 breaststroke was and what the last day (for qualifying was). Someone said 1:03.69 and June 20th.
“So I looked up to see if there was a meet and (the meet in) Irvine was 10 days away. So I called up and asked … if I could join them at the Irvine meet.
“(Coaches) Mario (Marshall) and Mike (Lucero) welcomed me out, registered me on the team, and called up the meet director and asked if they could get me entered.”
Moses came in fourth in the 100m breaststroke with a time of 1:03.35, securing him a spot at America’s Olympic trials.
Not only had Moses not swum in the previous four years, but his preparation for his latest race was equally as lax. He claims to have practised only twice (covering a total of 1500m) before he arrived at the meet, then only warmed up with a cruisy 200m before deciding he was ready to go.
“I was in heat one, lane eight, and I took off. It felt real smooth the entire 100 and when I turned halfway the only person I could even see to my side is (Syrian Olympian) Azad (Al-Basari), and I knew he would be quick, so I got excited and just raced the second 50, and saw a 1:03.3 when I finished,” Moses said.
“I was pretty damn excited, honestly. Everyone loves cheering for the old guy.
“It was great to be on deck and see some old faces and coaches, memories and stories were coming out … I’m sure I’ll be sore tomorrow because I didn’t warm down, but it’s still pretty cool to be going to my fourth Olympic trials as a competitor.”
Moses had some pretty decent reasons for not finding time to jump into the water recently. He’s been studying for an MBA, running a consultancy company and he also launched a sports statistics app last year.
Moses won silver in his pet 100m breaststroke event at the Sydney Olympics to go along with his relay gold.
Realistically, his chances of getting to Rio are slim to nothing. His time was impressive for a man of his age who hasn’t put the swimming togs on in four years, but considering the world record for his event is 57.92 seconds, he’ll need a miracle to get on that plane to Brazil.
Still, stranger things have happened.
Swimming Australia’s key Olympic distance swimmer, Mack Horton, says he’s the luckiest man alive after rolling his Land Rover off an embankment and emerging virtually unscathed last weekend.
“I basically drove off a cliff,’’ Horton joked yesterday, just 71 days before the Rio Olympics. “I think I’ve used up all my luck for this year.’’
Horton, 20, was four-wheel driving with friends last Sunday when he drifted onto the shoulder of a country road near Marysville, Victoria, and it gave way, flipping his car onto its roof down a steep slope. The only thing that saved him from serious injury was a well-placed log on the slope that arrested the car’s fall.
He hit his head on the roof as it caved in, trapping him against the seats, but escaped with a black eye and two hairline fractures to his nose and cheekbone.
Fortunately he was with two friends in their own cars and they were able to prise open the doors of his crushed vehicle and get him out almost immediately.
Horton, ranked No 1 in the world in the 400m freestyle and No 2 in the 1500m, said he didn’t have time to think about the Olympics as his vehicle flipped over but he was hugely relieved that he wasn’t seriously injured.
“The only thing that flashed through my head was a tube of pawpaw ointment that I remember sailing past my eyes,’’ he said.
“Everyone was worried because I hit my head but I hadn’t lost consciousness and I wasn’t concussed.’’
His family and his coach Craig Jackson insisted he take Monday morning off training to be checked out by one of the Australian team doctors, who gave him permission to return to the pool on Monday afternoon. He had follow-up MRI and CAT scans on Tuesday which revealed the tiny facial fractures. However he has been back to normal training since with no obvious problems.
“He’s so lucky that all he’s got is a bruised ego and a few bumps and scrapes,’’ Jackson said.
Horton’s beloved Land Rover Defender, which he bought in February, is a write-off but he’s taking that fairly well.
“Once I realised I was fine, I was more pissed that I had to miss training, but I’ve only missed one session,’’ he said.
Most elite swimmers refrain from risky activities in the lead-up to major events, although country driving is not normally on the banned list. However, Melbourne-based Horton has now been confined to sealed roads by his nearest and dearest.
“From now on, he’s allowed to get out of bed, go to training and go back to bed,’’ Jackson said.