Stephanie Millward hopes performances will inspire next generation of swimmers

Stephanie Millward hopes to have inspired the next generation of youngsters to take up swimming after competing in her 18th Paralympic Games final.

The 39-year-old, who is taking part in her fourth Paralympics at the Tokyo 2020 Games, finished eighth in the S9 100m Backstroke final – but admitted she had enjoyed the whole experience.

And she then urged a new crop of youngsters to give swimming a go – and offered some words of wisdom to those striving to follow in her footsteps.

After she finished in a time of 1:15.49, Millward said: “I loved it – I know I came last but I loved it.

“I enjoyed the whole race. I love 100 backstroke.

“We need some younger people to come in the Paralympics squad – we need some younger people to come and give it a go.

“If you have any disabilities, get in the pool and come and swim with us. We need to inspire the next generation.

“Believe in yourself. Always do the best you can on each and every race and just keep on enjoying it – just smile.”

Emotional Elle reveals battle

While ParalympicsGB swimmers didn’t win any medals on day six of the competition, there were a number of inspirational performances.

Ellie Robinson took fifth spot in the S6 50m Butterfly and then gave an honest and emotional account of the battle she had faced to even make the Tokyo 2020 squad.

Robinson finished in a time of 37.08, which was only 0.25 off a podium place.

But it was a remarkable performance as the 20-year-old detailed how she had been suffering from a debilitating hip problem which has left her in ‘agony’.

Robinson said: “People have been saying ‘it’s okay to finish. It’s fine, you don’t have to carry on’.  I said I’m not finishing this way it’s not going to end this way.

“Even though I didn’t medal, I can say I ended on my own terms – I went out the way I wanted to.

“If I had to crawl to the blocks on my hands and knees, I would do it. 

“I’m just so proud of myself. I have been in agony this whole year – this is a story of triumph, this is not a story of defeat.”

Challis learning from Paralympic experience

Ellie Challis finished just outside the podium places in the S3 100m Freestyle but said she was learning from the Paralympic experience.

The 17-year-old was fourth in a time of 1:54.84, which was narrowly outside her own British record.

She said: “I would have liked better I would have liked to have gone faster than I was this morning but it is what it is.

“I had such a good swim yesterday and I’m still really happy with my time here. 

“I’ve still got more races to go I’ll be racing up a classification so that will be fun but I’m still really happy.

“The whole experience has been good, the village, everything. I’m 17, we’re here for experience and we’ll learn and go into worlds next year and then Paris 2024.”

Britain’s fourth finalist of day six was Andrew Mullen in the S5 50m Backstroke final.

City of Glasgow’s Mullen touched home seventh in a time of 37.96.

Main picture: ParalympicsGB