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National Para-swimming Championships 2019

Organised by the Activity Alliance in partnership with British Para-swimming, the National Para-swimming Championships held over 30 Nov and 1 Dec 2019 attracted more than 230 entrants to Manchester Aquatics Centre, including a host of athletes with world-class pedigree, .

Stephanie Millward (Team Bath AS, S9) clocked 1:06.01 worth 785 points to rank 3rd in the Multi-Disability 18 Yrs/O Womens MC 100m Freestyle category. Gold went to Bethany Firth (Newcastle, S14 58.80) with 890 points and silver to Eleanor Robinson (Northampton, S6, 1:15.32) with 851 points.

Millward (S9, 4:55.38) also scored 712 points in finishing fourth in the 18 Yrs/O Womens MC 400m Freestyle category won by Eleanor Simmonds (Camden Swiss, S6 5:29.18) with 873 points.

15-year-old Ellie Challis celebrated receiving Swim England Para-swimming Talent Athlete of the Year with a record-breaking display. The Colchester Phoenix swimmer set British records in the S3 50m and 100m Freestyle and was delighted with her performances.

She said: “To get the British records is amazing. I didn’t have my eye on the 50m free but the 100 free I definitely did. I love the atmosphere at this meet – it’s so supportive. Everyone walking around says ‘good luck’ and ‘well done’.”

Plymouth Leander’s Reece Dunn brought an end to a whirlwind 2019 by setting a British record in the S14 100m Backstroke. Dunn joined the British Para-swimming team earlier this year and then made an instant impact at the World Para-swimming Championships in London, winning three golds, a silver and setting three World Records in the S14 class. 

The 24-year-old was thrilled to set a new British record at the national championships and said: “I’m trying to nurse a few injuries and get some motivation back after the Worlds. I’m doing some more events than I usually do just to get some fitness back. So breaking the British record in an event, which isn’t my main event, is great.”

With the Tokyo Games in sight, 2020 promises to be a memorable year for many including Northampton’s Maisie Summers-Newton. She was inspired by Simmonds’ memorable 2012 Paralympic Games performance and the 17-year-old has one target for next year.

Summers-Newton said: “It’s been my dream since the London Worlds to qualify for Tokyo. Hopefully, I can be a part of the team and go into the Games with no expectation because it would be my first one.”

Summers-Newton is also hoping more disabled people reap the benefits she has experienced through sport: She said: “Just try everything you can – nothing is impossible. Once you start enjoying something it will take you anywhere.”

There were three types of classification at the National Para-swimming Championships – physical (S1-S10), visual (S11-S13) and intellectual (S14) – and races were heat declared wins. Multi-class (MC) events had swimmers with a range of impairments, from multiple classifications, competing in the same race. They were grouped for heats on their fastest entry time and swimmers were awarded points within their class once the heats were over. The winner of the race was not always who touched the wall first but the swimmer who posted the fastest time for their classification.

View results from the National Para-swimming Championships.

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