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'Just reward' for Laura Stephens as she earns Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games place

Butterfly specialist Laura Stephens’ inclusion in Team GB’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games swimming squad is ‘just reward for some impressive swims’.

Stephens and Scottish freestyle swimmer Lucy Hope are the latest additions to complete a 30-strong team which will be heading to Japan next month for the rearranged Games.

Plymouth Leander’s Stephens was part of the Women’s 4x100m Medley Relay team which set a European Aquatics Championship record on the final night of action in Budapest.

And she followed that up by lowering her own personal best in the heats of the 200m Butterfly at the Glasgow Swim Meet and then achieved the Olympic consideration time in the final – the last opportunity to do so – to seal a place at her maiden Games.

“It feels absolutely incredible and a bit overwhelming,” said Stephens. “Part of it hasn’t quite sunk in yet and I don’t think it will until I’m literally on the plane going.

“Every time that I have represented this country, it’s always been such a big honour, but to do it on the biggest stage that our sport has is a real honour and such a privilege.

“I feel incredibly lucky. I’ve had the best support staff that I could have around me, my family and friends have been there for me since day one, they have believed in me, and that is the meaning behind being able to put that kit on and say ‘I’m an Olympian for Team GB’.”

Shown incredible resilience

Mark England, Team GB Chef de Mission for Tokyo 2020, said: “It is fantastic to be able to welcome two more talented swimmers on to the team for the Tokyo Olympic Games. 

“This is an incredibly strong team of 30 individuals and we’ve seen from Laura and Lucy’s recent performances that they will undoubtedly impress in Tokyo.

“We’d like to congratulate them both on their selection and hope that they soak up all the excitement that comes with being an Olympic debutant.”

Chris Spice, British Swimming National Performance Director and Team GB Swimming Team Leader, added: “I’m delighted to welcome Laura and Lucy on to the team, their selection just reward for some impressive swims over the last month, individually and most importantly in our relays. 

“They have shown incredible resilience to bounce back and get the job done – this epitomises one of the key traits of our 30-strong team.

“I’ve no doubt they, along with the rest of the team, will kick on again as we fine tune our preparations for the Games over the coming weeks.”