As the calendar ticked over to April in this Paralympic year, we’ve had a reminder about how this year differs to all others in the 4-year cycle. Everything steps up a gear as the one event we’ve all been focusing on finally feels like it comes into view. That’s not to say we aren’t focused on it all the time. Throughout the 3 and a half-year building period, our attention is on achieving smaller process goals with the ultimate objective in mind – competing on the word-stage. So naturally, there’s a different sense we all feel when this one, ultimate objective… dream… eventually comes close enough and becomes really real.
It’s at this time of year when for many athletes the main competitive season starts and qualification times, games and distances all need to be met if they are to secure their opportunity to compete at the Paralympics. With this in mind, we thought we’d give you a really brief summary of what’s been going on during a very busy 6 weeks.
British Para Swimming International Meet: Paralympic Trials
From 23 – 27 April, the disability swimming community descended once again on Toll Cross, Glasgow for a major meet in the swimming calendar. Head of Strength and Conditioning, Tim Stevenson, went along to support the National Performance Centre athletes with their race day preparation. This year however, this major meet had a slightly more important feel to it; for a number of athletes it was the one and only opportunity to qualify for the Paralympic Games. By the last swim on Wednesday evening 26 swimmers had hit the qualification time and 4 others had gone within 2% of the set benchmark time.
It was a great week with some fantastic swims including a number of World and British records being set. Aaron Moores set a new Word Record in the S14 100m breaststroke, Bethany Firth set one for the S14 200m freestyle and Ellie Simmonds from the National Performance Centre where she trains with Tim, set a new World Record in the S6 400m freestyle event.
IPC Swimming European Championships: Madeira
Being Paralympic year, there’s so much to fit in. So, with no time to spare, Tim and the team headed off to the IPC European Swimming Championships held in Funchal on the island of Madeira, Portugal from 30 April to 7 May.
After a grueling week, pulling out all the stops to qualify for the Paralympic Games, the team continued to impress with another week of world-class swimming including new personal best times, European titles regained and retained, a new European Record by Susie Rogers in the S7 50m Butterfly and a golden hat-trick by our very own Ollie Hynd MBE.
Paralympics GB announce swimmers to join the team
On Monday 16 May, the British Paralympic Association announced the 31 swimmers selected for the Paralympic Games 2016 including oneathlete supported Paralympic Champion Ollie Hynd MBE and multi-medallists Ellie Simmonds, Clarie Cashmore and Charlotte Henshaw.
For a full list of the team, all the swimming news and highlights, visit britishswimming.org
We’re also really proud to be able to announce that both Tim and David Jackson will be involved in supporting the British Para Swimming team during the Paralympics 2016.
IPC Athletics European Selection
The British Athletics team for the Europeans in Grosetto, Italy taking place from 10-16 June was also named this month and we’re really proud to see oneathlete supported Richard Whitehead MBE, Sam Ruddock and Amy Wareing’s names on the list.
For the full list of the team heading out to the IPC Athletics European Championships, visit britishathletics.org
Being part of this Parlympic year is amazing! We’re so proud of all our athletes, those who’ve already qualified for the games and those looking to qualify in the near future. You’ve all worked incredibly hard preparing for this year. You’re a pleasure to work with and we love seeing you become the best athletes you can be.