Italy will be hopeful of getting among the medals on home water during the third leg of the World Para Swimming World Series, scheduled to begin in Lignano Sabbiadoro tomorrow.
In total, 141 athletes from 27 countries are scheduled to line-up in 17 races behind closed doors at the Bella Italia Village Sports Complex.
World champions Carlotta Gilli, Simone Barlaam, Arianna Talamona and Federico Morlacchi form part of a 24-strong Italian squad, some of whom will be competing in their first competition for more than a year.
The 2020 edition of the World Series round in Lignano was cancelled at the last minute as coronavirus started to spread around the world.
A host of international stars are also set to compete including Belarusians Aliaksei Talai and Ihar Boki, Colombia’s Carlos Serrano Zarate, Spain’s Antoni Ponce Bertran and Teresa Perales, Germany’s Elena Krawzow, Russia’s Roman Makarov and Ukraine’s Denys Dubrov.
Hosts Italy are sending the largest team, followed by Poland and Russia, while at the opposite end of the scale refugee athlete Ibrahim Al-Hussein, who competed at Rio 2016 as part of the Refugee Paralympic Team, is competing as a sole representative.
Organising Committee President Francesco Bettella said: "It is going to be a great sporting event, and particularly in the run-up to Tokyo.
"The athletes also love this location with hotel and pool in the same area, and with the sea just a few steps away, the desire to swim is 360 degrees.
"To ensure maximum safety at the high-level event, there are volunteers and staff of the Italian Para Swimming Federation involved as Italy is keen to enable athletes to enjoy the beauty of swimming."
Lignano Sabbiadoro is the third stop of the World Series with the second round at Lewisville in the United States ongoing through to Sunday (April 18).
Following the five rounds, the season’s top male and female swimmers will be declared overall winners, with the World Para Swimming points system used to calculate athletes results.