Ellie Simmonds describes ‘magical feeling’ as ‘brilliant’ Paralympics team named

Paralympic champion Ellie Simmonds said it was a ‘magical feeling’ after being named in a 23-strong swimming squad heading to Tokyo this summer.

Simmonds will join Stephanie Millward in making her fourth consecutive appearance at the Paralympics with the duo included in a ‘brilliant’ team filled with ‘knowledge and experience’.

Ten of the athletes selected have won an impressive 41 Paralympic medals between them, while the team also includes 12 making their first-ever appearance at the Games, which take place from 24 August to 5 September.

Simmonds said: “I’m really looking forward to competing at another Paralympics, each Games is special in its own right – from my first one as a thirteen-year-old at Beijing 2008, and now to be heading into a fourth aged twenty-six is a magical feeling.

“The Paralympics are such an incredible event to be a part of, almost in a way you can’t quite explain. 

“I’m always very proud to represent ParalympicsGB and Great Britain and I can’t wait to go to Japan, swim well and enjoy my fourth Games.”

Simmonds, Millward, Eleanor Robinson, Hannah Russell and Bethany Firth all won gold at the Rio 2016 Paralympics, while Jessica-Jane Applegate, Thomas Hamer, Andrew Mullen, Scott Quin and Becky Redfern also secured podium places.

Of the twelve debutants set to write their own chapter of Paralympic history Reece Dunn, Tully Kearney and Maisie Summers-Newton claimed seven individual titles between them at the 2019 World Championships in London, with Jordan Catchpole, Ellie Challis, Louise Fiddes, Suzanna Hext, Louis Lawlor and Toni Shaw also securing maiden world level medals in the capital.

Also on the plane to Japan is Grace Harvey and Lyndon Longhorne, who both set new British records in April at the British Para-Swimming International Meet, along with 2021 European silver medallist Conner Morrison.

Deliver best possible performance

Chris Furber, British Para-swimming performance director, said: “The last 18 months have been challenging for everyone in the country but thanks to the elite sport exemption, we have been able to maintain some consistency in our preparation for Tokyo. 

“I’m delighted to be able to get to the point of ParalympicsGB announcing these 23 swimmers who will complete in Tokyo in 55 days’ time. 

“The team is a terrific blend of knowledge and experience with 11 swimmers having competed before at a Paralympic Games and 12 making their Paralympic debut. 

“Injury and classification challenges have hit the team hard this season but we are determined to go to Tokyo and show the resilience to deliver our best possible performance.”

Penny Briscoe, ParalympicsGB Chef de Mission, said: Swimming has consistently been a hugely successful sport for ParalympicsGB with Rio 2016 being an incredible high point as the squad amassed 47 medals with countless moments in the aquatic centre that will live long in my memory. 

“I am confident this brilliant squad of athletes will have that single-minded focus to once again achieve their personal best performances to excite and inspire the British public at Tokyo 2020. 

“I also want to take this opportunity to thank the athletes and support staff for their tireless work to prepare for the Games amidst such challenging circumstances.”

Around 240 athletes from 19 sports are expected to make up the British team that will compete in Japan, with further names to be announced in the coming weeks. 

ParalympicsGB captured the imagination of the British public at London 2012 winning 120 medals in front of sell-out crowds with countless memorable performances. 

The team eclipsed that performance at Rio 2016 winning an outstanding 147 medals including 64 golds to finish second in the overall medal table. 

The Great Britain team

  • Jessica-Jane Applegate, City of Norwich (S14, SB14, SM14)
  • Jordan Catchpole, Team Waveney (S14, SB14, SM14)
  • Ellie Challis, Manchester NPC (S3, SB2, SM3)
  • Stephen Clegg, Edinburgh University (S12, SB12, SM12)
  • Reece Dunn, Plymouth Leander (S14, SB14, SM14)
  • Louise Fiddes, Hatfield SC (S14, SB14, SM14)
  • Bethany Firth, Ards SC (S14, SB14, SM14)
  • Thomas Hamer, Manchester NPC (S14, SB14, SM14)
  • Grace Harvey, Manchester NPC (S6, SB5, SM6)
  • Suzanna Hext, Manchester NPC/Swindon ASC (S5, SB4, SM5)
  • Tully Kearney, Manchester NPC (S5, SB4, SM5)
  • Louis Lawlor, City of Glasgow ST (S14, SB14, SM14)
  • Lyndon Longhorne, Cockermouth SC (S4, SB3, SM4)
  • Stephanie Millward, Bath University (S9, SB8, SM9)
  • Conner Morrison, Aberdeen University (S14, SB14, SM14)
  • Andrew Mullen, City of Glasgow ST (S5, SB4, SM5)
  • Scott Quin, Edinburgh University (S14, SB14, SM14)
  • Becky Redfern, Worcester SC (S13, SB13, SM13)
  • Eleanor Robinson, Northampton SC (S6, SB6, SM6)
  • Hannah Russell, Manchester NPC (S12, SB12, SM12)
  • Toni Shaw, Aberdeen University (S9, SB9, SM9)
  • Ellie Simmonds, Camden Swiss Cottage (S6, SB6, SM6)
  • Maisie Summers-Newton, Northampton SC (S6, SB6, SM6)