First Time For Everything

By Joe Clarke | April 19, 2016, 5:35 p.m. (ET)

Mallory Weggemann, seen here at the 2015 Parapan American Games, won two golds, two silvers and a bronze in Toronto this past summer.

The flags will be strung and the lane lines will be pulled tight this weekend as U.S. swimmers head south of the equator to get a feel for the pool at the Aquece Rio test event. The Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Rio de Janeiro will play host to the test event April 22-24. This weekend will mark the first time in history Team USA has participated in a Paralympic swimming test event, so find out the key figures to know before athletes hit the pool for the first time in Rio.

15 – Paralympic Games medals being represented by the U.S.
The U.S. delegation will include 15 Paralympic Games medals won by four Paralympians. Tucker Dupree (Raleigh, North Carolina) has a silver and two bronzes, Rudy Garcia-Tolson (Bloomington, California) has three golds and a bronze, Roy Perkins (Del Mar, California) has a gold, two silvers, and three bronzes and Mallory Weggemann (Eagan, Minnesota) has a gold and a bronze medal. McKenzie Coan (Clarkesville, Georgia) is also representing the United States at the test event, having finished sixth in the 400-meter freestyle at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

9 – U.S. athletes attending
Joining Coan, Dupree, Garcia-Tolson, Perkins and Weggemann will be Robert Griswold (Freehold, New Jersey), Michelle Konkoly (Naples, Florida), Martha Ruether (Colorado Springs, Colorado) and Elizabeth Smith (Muncie, Indiana). Konkoly claimed her first three silver medals at the 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships, while Griswold won a bronze medal in his world championship debut. Ruether and Smith were also members of the 2015 world championship team. 

3 – Days of competition at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium
The aquatic hub of the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Olympic Aquatics Stadium will host the test event. The pool will open for training sessions April 19-21 before competition begins on April 22. Details of the venue include 10 lanes, 50x25m in length and width, and 3m in depth. The Olympic Aquatics Stadium has 18,000 seats and is 10 minutes from the Olympic and Paralympic Village.

19 – Countries set to attend
While it might only be a small sample size compared to the Games, the excitement will be in the air as countries from all over the globe experience a glimpse what is to come in September. The current projected number of countries scheduled to be in attendance at the 2016 Paralympic Games is 176.

212 – Athletes scheduled to compete
The competition promises to be fierce with a large number of high-caliber athletes competing. The test event will serve as a great measuring stick for U.S. swimmers and even though the U.S. will not be able to fill any quota spots at the test event, athletes will be able to earn qualifying times.   

53 – Events including prelims, finals and relays
The scheduled events include the 100 freestyle, 150 individual medley, 200 individual medley, 50 butterfly, 100 butterfly, 50 freestyle, 50 backstroke, 100 backstroke, 200 freestyle, 400 freestyle, 50 breaststroke, 100 breaststroke, mixed 4x50 freestyle, 4x100 freestyle and 4x100 medley. Each individual event has a preliminary and final heat for each gender, while the 4x100 freestyle and 4x100 medley have just a final for each gender. The 4x50 mixed freestyle has one final.

U.S. athletes are scheduled to compete in the following events: men’s and women’s 100 freestyle, men’s and women’s 200 individual medley, men’s 50 butterfly, men’s and women’s 100 butterfly, men’s and women’s 50 freestyle, men’s and women’s 100 backstroke, men’s 200 freestyle, men’s and women’s 400 freestyle and the men’s and women’s 100 breaststroke.

5,831 – Miles from the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs to Rio de Janeiro
A 15+ hour flight with a layover in Houston is the standard route from Colorado Springs to Rio. While there is over a mile of difference when it comes to change in elevation, the two cities are only three time zones apart with Rio being three hours ahead.  

141 – Days until the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games
This is no test. The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony will be held on September 7 to kick off the 15th edition of the Paralympic Games and will run through September 18. Twenty-three sports will be contested including the two newest sports, canoe and triathlon. There will be 21 competition venues spread across four regions of Rio de Janeiro as the Games come South American for the first time in history.

The anticipation grows by the day as the summer months rapidly approach and the Paralympic Games inch closer and closer. The next Paralympic test event in Rio will be goalball from May 4-5. The final Paralympic test event will be track and field May 18-21 at the Olympic Stadium. Not only will it be the final Paralympic test event, but it will be the last test event for both Olympic and Paralympic Games.

For more information on the Aquece Rio test events, go here.

For all U.S. Paralympics information, visit