Great Britain retain European title at Down Syndrome swimming championships

Great Britain’s Down Syndrome Swimming squad have retained their title of Best European Team at the fifth Open European DSISO Swimming Championships.

A total of 31 British athletes travelled to Sardinia, Italy, for the prestigious event and produced some ‘outstanding’ performances to ensure they kept the crown of top European team they won in 2017.

More than 130 swimmers representing 19 countries from across Europe, plus the USA, took part in the championships.

The GB team had been training hard to repeat their 2017 success and they achieved their goal based on points won throughout the competition.

They faced stiff competition from the Italians but pulled through thanks to the superb efforts of everyone involved.

Team manager, Neil Lacey, said: “Our recent training camp in Newcastle set the standards that we wanted to achieve.

“All 31 swimmers have been outstanding, not only this week but also in the months of preparation in the build up to the competition.

“We have some outstanding individuals in the team but retaining our European title shows we have huge strength in depth in the squad.”

Over four days of tough racing, GB athletes earned 50 podium medals and 72 age group medals.

Mark Evens, of Hitchin Swimming Club, was awarded the Individual Best Performance trophy for Male T21 swimmer.

Ellen Stephenson, of Newcastle Swim Team, was awarded the Individual Best Performance trophy for Female Mosaic swimmer.

Between them, they broke eight world records and a European record.

GB Down Syndrome swimmers

Head coach, Keith Hall, said: “Our swimmers were tested to their limits on all four days of the event. For five of the team, it was their first international competition.

“They had to contend with the temperatures of the Sardinian summer as well as the pressure of competing against some very strong teams.

“Each day we asked more and more of them and they all stepped up, performing amazingly well.

“The Newcastle camp was a fantastic bonding opportunity and the hard work at each of the swimmer’s clubs has clearly paid off.

“This team of incredible athletes has set the bar extremely high for future competitions. I couldn’t have been more proud of them all.”

In Para-swimming events, swimmers with Down Syndrome currently compete within the S14 classification.

At Down Syndrome events, there are two classes for swimmers. These are T21 (an extra copy of chromosome 21 in all cells) and Mosaic (an extra copy of chromosome 21 in only some cells).

Full DSS-GB squad

  • Christopher McDonnell – Alnwick Dolphins/ Richmond Dales ASC
  • Daniel Daley – Cheshire Penguins
  • Ellen Stephenson – Newcastle Swim Team/ NE Disability SC
  • Andy Banks – NovaCenturion/ Melton Mowbray SC/ Bingham Penguins
  • Caitlin Hatfield – Winchester City Penguins
  • Alex Edwards – Bristol Sharks/ Minehead & W Somerset SC
  • Caroline Faithfull (Captain) – Taunton Deane SC/ Reading Cygnets
  • Holly Sullivan – Swindon ASC
  • Becky Turner – Gloucester City SC
  • Mark Evens – Hitchin SC
  • Holly Bocking – Colchester Phoenix ASC
  • Lucie Fickling – Wycombe & District SC
  • Mark Holmes – Colchester Phoenix ASC
  • Zac Lacey – Seaclose SC/ IoW Swim Team
  • Ciara McKenna – Berkhamsted SC/ St Albans SO
  • William Lake – Harrogate Hotshots
  • William Roberts – Oundle Otters/ Peterborough SO
  • Stephane Rouyer-Brown – Runnymede SC/ Essex SO
  • Jemima Rudd-Jones – RTW Monson SC
  • Will Reed – LDSC/Kingston Royals
  • Thomas Raddings – Marlins SC/ Able2Pontefract SO
  • Jake Vicars – Harrogate Hotshots/ Able2Pontefract SO
  • Florence Garrett – Wandsworth SC/ LDSC
  • Dylan Hughes – Monnow SC
  • Harry Humphries – Bristol Sharks/ Soundwell/ Hengrove/ Warminster SC
  • Kathryn Martin – Bracknell & Wokingham SC/ Reading Cygnets
  • Lizzie Allen – Alton & District SC/ Electric Eels
  • Helen Thompson – Colchester SC/ Colchester Phoenix ASC
  • Beth Greig – Arbroath St Thomas SC
  • Laura Logan – S Ayrshire ST
  • Cerys McCrindle – S Ayrshire ST