Swimmers put finishing touches to preparation ahead of Montreal
10 August 2013
The country’s best swimmers are preparing for their first major international competition since the London 2012 Paralympic Games when they compete at the IPC Swimming World Championships in Montreal.
The 32-strong contingent sees a good mix of youth and experience with multi-Paralympic medallist Sascha Kindred competing at his sixth World Championships while 14-year old Amy Marren will make her World Championship debut at the competition which takes place from 12 – 18 August.
Multi-Paralympic Champion Ellie Simmonds will be competing in six events for the first time in her career as she looks to make changes to her programme ahead of the Rio Games.
"One of the things I have said to the athletes is to go in with self-belief because they’ve all been selected as potential medallists." - Chris FurberNational Performance Director Chris Furber, who took charge of the programme in May, will be leading the athletes into action for the first time and believes this competition is not just about success but learning vital lessons ahead of the 2016 Paralympic Games.
“The preparations for Montreal have gone really well,” Furber said. “The structure of the training since the trials has been exceptional and I’ve been really impressed with the work ethic of the athletes who do work really hard. I’ve also been really pleased with the communication between the coaches we’ve selected and the home programme coaches of the athletes.
“I think it’s really important to expose our younger athletes to world class competition now as much as possible. One of the things I have said to the athletes is to go in with self-belief because they’ve all been selected as potential medallists.
“Whether they are an experienced athlete or not they need to go in with the self-belief that they can perform on the very biggest stage so from that point of view the message to the younger athletes is just go out there and do what you do and try and make sure you are learning from the experience
“The UK Sport medal target is 30-40 medals which is a realistic target for us to hit based on the athletes that we’ve selected.
“I think though that this competition is about going through some processes to put us on a good pathway towards Rio so from that end it’s about experimenting a little bit, doing things slightly differently and not being afraid of failing. But failing in a constructive way so that you can try something out in a competition environment and understand whether it improves your performance or not and then move on from it.
“I think one of the big issues when you get to a Games is thinking ‘I wish we’d tried this or that’ or ‘we haven’t ruled this in or out’. And with the limited amount of events we have between now and Rio it is important to use the events we’ve got wisely to answer some of the questions we’ve got about swimming performance.”
Teenager Marren was one of the youngest athletes that competed for ParalympicsGB in London and is looking to use her experience as she breaks onto the world stage for the first time.
“I have a really tough programme in Montreal I have a lot of races to do and I have been working hard in training,” Marren said. “But the aim of this competition is to gain experience and see what happens on the day and because I am so young I don’t have that many expectations on myself. I have to go in there with the best mindset possible and relax but this will only be my second time of racing against this kind of field so I will be looking to learn a lot from my competitors.
“Obviously it can be quite hard being one of the youngest on the team and being away from home because you are leaving your whole family behind. I’m lucky enough to have my family coming out to support me. Everyone looks after each other on the team. The older ones are always there for the younger ones and we’ve got a really good support network all around us and we get along really well.
“I have been preparing myself in the best way possible. I have tried to stay positive throughout hard training and I have been giving 110% in my training sessions as and when I can. I have been trying to focus on getting the small things right ahead of getting in to race.”
"I'm looking forward to racing. It is my sixth World Championships - I've been to every one that has been held," - Sascha KindredOne of the oldest athletes competing for Great Britain is Sascha Kindred, who over the years has consistently shown he is one of the best athletes in the world. He will be looking at approaching this like any other competition and using his experience to his advantage.
“I’m feeling good going into this competition,” Kindred said. “I am looking forward to racing. I am quite experienced. It is my sixth World Championships; I’ve been to every one that has ever been held.
“If I can hit PBs then that is the main aim for me here and those PBs can then hopefully get me on the podium especially in the medley because my PB puts me in the top three in the world.
“My preparations have been a bit hit and miss for the competition. Training has been going really well and I have been doing personal bests in training and hitting good times and swims. But I’ve also had back injuries which have kept me out of it as well but I have done as much training as I need to so I am still feeling that I can have a good race.”