The opening fixture of the 2024 Citi Para Swimming World Series is all set to underway, with many of the world’s top para-swimming athletes take to the pool at the Aberdeen Sports Village Aquatic Centre for four days of high quality racing.
The event in Aberdeen marks a key competition landmark for the para-swimming athletes, both British and further afield, sitting six month ahead of the Paris 2024 Games. Running across 1st-4th February, the first of nine legs on the World Series calendar features representation from 22 nations amongst 224 athletes, making over 1000 race starts in 54 events.
A number of individual world champions from last year’s Manchester 2023 world championships spearhead the 35 British athletes making World Series event starts, including Becky Redfern, Ellie Challis, Suzanna Hext and Aberdeen-based Faye Rogers - while the competition also incorporates the British Para-Swimming Winter Meet and brings the future stars of para-swimming into an environment to race alongside side their peers preparing for the Paralympics Games year.
With five years of international racing in the bank after breaking onto a senior British team in 2019, Challis is one of many looking to get the year of the year off to a positive racing start and is entered in five individual events in Aberdeen.
“It’s a nice step to have this event at this time of the year and get that first international racing opportunity of the season.” she said,
“I’d love to have some decent performances in Aberdeen - it’s only the starting point of the season to see where I’m at, and then going through the series I’d like to be challenging my PB’s to boost my confidence going into our British Swimming Championships in April. At Paris I hope to win a medal and challenge for more.”
While for Faye Rogers - who’s para-swimming story was featured on BBC News this week, there is delight in getting 2024’s racing underway in her home pool, commenting:
"There is something exciting about being able to swim at a high level in your home pool and it's a big opportunity for those of us who are based here – it’s lovely to have a chance for my friends and family to see me compete.
“‘My favourite part is competing against myself, trying to beat my own personal best and seeing how much time I can drop. I can’t wait to get started.”
If you missed it on @BBCNews..— Nick Hope - the athlete’s journalist (@NickHopeTV) January 31, 2024
This is Faye Rogers’ incredible comeback story 🏊🏻♀️🥇🇬🇧
Despite being told she would never be able to race competitively again, after a serious car crash, the bio-chem student refused to accept that outcome & is now a Para Swimming World champion.🔥… pic.twitter.com/mR2yhLdOaz
Races will be conducted following the multi-classification format in which athletes’ times are converted to standardises World Para Swimming points against their classification, and as a result serves up a number of potentially intriguing battles for the top step on the podium across the event programme.
Heats start daily at 9.30am, with corresponding finals at 5.00pm and every session will be available to view with on the British Swimming YouTube channel, with Paul Noble providing announcement and commentary duties.event page.