British stars turn attentions to Tokyo as 2020 dawns

3 Jan 2020

The New Year's fireworks are done and dusted - and that means Tokyo 2020 just moved a step closer. The Paralympic Games are taking place between August 25th and September 6th in the Japanese capital, and they will provide the overwhelming focus for Britain's elite para-swimmers as they look to build on a record-breaking performance at Rio 2016, when they clinched 47 medals, including 16 golds.

But there is plenty of build-up to come before the Paralympics swimming programme gets underway with the Men's 400m Freestyle S9 heats. So what is in store as Tokyo 2020 closes in? 

The first big date in the British event calendar comes at the World Para Swimming World Series event in Sheffield between April 9th and 12th, a competition that also doubles as the British Para-Swimming International Meet. 

It will see the British elite battle it out with the world's best as they build towards the Paralympics. 

That event at Ponds Forge is the fourth leg of this year's Series, following stages in Melbourne, Australia (February 14th - 16th), Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy (February 27th - March 1st) and Sao Paulo, Brazil (March 26th - 28th). 

There are also subsequent rounds in the United States and Singapore before the finale in Berlin, Germany in June. 

Alice Tai was crowned the overall women's champion for 2019.

Alice Tai
Alice Tai

Before the final of this year's Series, a British squad of 24 will head to the European Para Swimming Championships in Madeira between May 17th and 23rd. 

A blend of experienced and up-and-coming athletes are set for that final major competition before the Paralympics, with seven-time World Champion Tai and multiple Olympic gold medallist Ellie Simmonds included alongside the likes of Ellie Challis and Louis Lawlor, who enjoyed breakthrough years in 2019. 

The Paralympic swimming programme gets underway on August 26th with the Men's S9 400m Freestyle event and concludes with the Men's 34pt 4x100m Medley Relay Final on September 4th. 

Simmonds, Bethany Firth, Jessica-Jane Applegate and Michael Jones are among the British athletes with Paralympic titles to defend in Tokyo, when Paralympics GB will target another memorable Games in the pool. 

We'll have build-up, updates and coverage from across all these events throughout an exciting 2020.