Exclusive interview with World Record holder Steph Slater
23 April 2014
Steph’s focus on the British Para-Swimming International Championships over Easter paid off with a new World Record and Commonwealth qualifying time. However, four years ago she was preparing for the Delhi Commonwealth Games as an able-bodied swimmer.
Read the full interview in the May 2014 issue of Swimming Times out now!In a routine training session at Swansea, Stephanie developed severe pain and weakness in her left arm, which meant that she could no longer pull her arm through the water. She didn’t realise it at the time but it was the end of her Olympic dream. Instead of making the GB team and preparing for London, she spent the next 18 months undergoing a barrage of medical tests as doctors struggled to diagnose her condition.
Encouraged by her coach at Preston SC, Steve Heaps, she applied to be classified as a disability swimmer. Stephanie had to compete in January  at the Northern Zonal Meet to get times for the big events that were to follow. In Leeds at the British Gas International in March, she got the first inkling that her new dream of representing GB at a major international competition was still within her reach.
‘When I first got classified, I told myself I could go to a Paralympic Games. I thought if I could get myself fit, I could get to that high level. I was determined to get back to the level I was at,’
Stephanie says the focus in the last 12 months was regaining her fitness, so she’s confident that she can go faster with improvements in her fitness and technique. Despite the work ahead and the expectations of her, Slater is clearly still enjoying being back in the pool, doing what she loves.
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