With nearly 150 days to go until the 2013 International Paralympic Committee Swimming World Championships take place in Montreal, Canada, the IPC revealed its Ones to Watch list for this season today. Jessica Long, the United States Olympic Committee's 2012 Paralympic SportsWoman of the Year, is the only American athlete on the list.
The IPC's Ones to Watch initiative will showcase some of the top swimmers around the world who will be medal contenders in Montreal in order to help raise their profiles among fans and media in the lead-up to the World Championships and other major events.
The 2013 IPC Swimming World Championships will attract around 650 swimmers from more than 60 countries to Montreal from 12-18 August, including the majority of medal winners from London 2012 as they begin their preparations for Rio 2016.
The Ones to Watch list for swimming consists of 16 athletes, including London 2012 gold medalists Matthew Cowdrey, Daniel Dias, Jacqueline Freney, Long and Ellie Simmonds.
Cowdrey became Australia's most successful Paralympian of all-time in London after winning another five golds, two silvers and a bronze, while Freney was the most decorated individual medalist at the Games, winning gold in all eight events she competed in at the Aquatics Centre.
Brazil's Dias received the Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability Award earlier this week for his performances at London 2012, which included six gold medals. As a 10-time Paralympic champion, he is his country's most successful athlete over the last decade.
Jessica Long and Ellie Simmonds, meanwhile, have become the swimming poster girls for USA and Great Britain, winning five and two golds, respectively, in London. Long also won two silver medals and a bronze, making the podium in eight of her nine events.
The Ones to Watch campaign also includes Canada's Benoit Huot and Summer Mortimer, who are expected to be the host nation's heroes at this year's World Championships.
The complete list of Ones to Watch for swimming can be found at paralympic.org/Swimming/Athletes/Ones.
Craig Spence, IPC Director of Media and Communications, said: "With the amount of success our Ones to Watch campaign had for athletes in the lead-up to the London 2012 Paralympic Games, we now look to continue to build up the profiles of the leading swimmers to make them household names in their countries for the World Championships and heading into Rio 2016.
"The list of swimmers includes seasoned veterans with numerous Paralympic titles and world records to their names, as well as emerging talent in the sport who fans and media are bound to hear about for years to come."
Ones to watch athlete profiles on Paralympic.org will make up an information hub that includes their achievements, biographies, latest news, images and video footage. A number of other activities will also be implemented across social media in a concerted effort to boost the profiles of these athletes and make them household names for years to come.
The IPC's Ones to Watch campaign launched in the lead-up to London 2012, when a new section was included within Paralympic.org, entitled Ones to Watch. This series of pages was designed to raise the profiles of leading medal contenders in Paralympic sports and act as an essential media resource.
At London 2012, the IPC worked with Samsung to launch an innovative project that involved the Ones to Watch athletes called Samsung Bloggers. Athletes recorded video blogs from behind the scenes during the Paralympics and by the end of the Paralympics the blogs had received over 350,000 views.