By Emily Goddard

Ian Silverman 150513May 15 - Ian Silverman has been named as the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Athlete of the Month for April after the American swimmer swam to two world records while qualifying for this year's IPC Swimming World Championships.

The 17-year-old Paralympic champion (pictured top), who broke the 33-year-old world record in the S10 1500 metres by clocking in at 16min 24.63sec and winning the S10 800m in 8:35.69 at the CanAm Championships in Minneapolis last month, received 38 per cent of the public's vote to beat Russian ice sledge hockey player Mikhail Ivanov with 35 per cent.

Silverman's outstanding performance in the pool secured him a place on the American team heading to Montreal for the World Championships, but he explained his experience at the London 2012 Paralympics, where he won gold in the S10 400m freestyle, has taught him to tackle this event slightly differently to how he swam at last summer's Games.

"My routine before a race has definitely changed and for the better," he said.

"I was not used to some of the protocol that I had to follow in London before I swam.

"It took me out of my comfort zone which was good because it made me learn how to adapt to any situation that could occur before I swam.

"Also, having swum in front of 18,000 people, I don't get as nervous getting on the blocks in front of much smaller crowds."

Ian Silverman 15051311Ian Silverman won gold in the S10 1,500 and 800m at the CanAm Championships

Silverman's challenge in Montreal, which is due to take place on August 12 until 19, will be to beat home hope and four-time Paralympian Benoit Huot, winner of 19 Paralympic and 28 World Championship medals, who at London 2012 finished ahead of Silverman in two of their three races.

"I definitely think him competing in front of his home crowd will give him a great advantage," Silverman admitted.

"However, I still believe I can beat him and anyone else in the 400m freestyle.

"The biggest challenge will be competing against him in other events like the 200m individual medley.

"He is a great racer, a great friend, and I have all the respect in the world for him."

Looking to the future, Silverman already has Rio 2016 in his sights and explains that he will be aiming to add more medals to his tally in Brazil.

"I have achieved a lot at a young age but I still have lots to improve on and lots to learn," he said.

"I plan on competing at a high level for a long time.

"In Rio, I plan on defending my 400m title and adding a couple more medals, hopefully gold.

"I don't think I am anywhere near my peak."

Canadian ice sledge hockey player Greg Westlake, American wheelchair racer Tatyana McFadden and Swedish shooter Martin Halls were also shortlisted for the IPC's Athlete of the Month competition.

The IPC Athlete of the Month nominations are compiled from submissions by National Paralympic Committees and International Federations, with the winner being selected by a public vote via a poll on the IPC website.

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