Melbourne will welcome more than 150 world-class athletes from across the globe this week, as Swimming Australia hosts the Melbourne 2019 World Para Swimming World Series.
Held in partnership with Swimming Victoria, World Para Swimming and Paralympics Australia, the event marks the first meet of the 2019 international World Para swimming season.
Spanning five months from February to June, this year’s World Para Series is the biggest to date, with athletes set to compete in eight countries across four continents.
Taking place at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre (MSAC) between 15-17 of February, more than 15 countries will be represented at the Series including Australia, New Zealand, France, Canada, Japan, Hong Kong and Hungary.
A number of Australian Paralympians will feature in the program, including six-time gold medallist Ellie Cole, as well as Brenden Hall, who has three gold medals and five Pan Pacific Para gold medals to his name.
One of New Zealand’s most decorated athletes, Sophie Pascoe, will also make the trip to compete, along with emerging Japanese prospect Mei Ichinose and France’s young backstroke prodigy, Ugo Didier.
Swimming Australia’s General Manager – Paralympic & Open Water Programs, Adam Pine, said he was looking forward to the three-day event.
“To host the first meet of the 2019 international World Para swimming season is a real coup for Melbourne and speaks volumes about the facilities we have here in Australia,” Pine said.
“Attracting high-calibre athletes from the around the world will provide our swimmers with valuable race experience as they set their sights on the World Para Swimming Championships which takes place later this year.
“It’s a free spectacle, so I’d encourage all Victorians to embrace this global event and head along to watch the world’s best para athletes in action.
“In addition, thanks to the support and additional investment from the Paralympics Australia, this meet will afford many of our athletes the chance to access the international classification process.”
A total of 64 events will be conducted across the three days, with the World Para Series coinciding with the Optus 2019 Victorian Open Championships.
This is one of Australia’s premier domestic competitions and features an integrated program of able-bod and para swimming.