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Youngsters set to compete at National Junior Para-swimming Championships

More than 100 young swimmers from across the country will be taking part in the National Junior Para-swimming Championships 2018 this weekend.

Organised by the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) and supported by Swim England, the aim of the event is to increase opportunities and talent development for young disabled swimmers.

Youngsters aged 10-16 will compete in the short course event in 50m and 100m Freestyle, 50m and 100m Backstroke, 50m Breaststroke, 150m and 200m Individual Medley and 50m and 100m Butterfly.

The para-swimming competition is taking place at The Quays, Harbour Parade, Southampton with two sessions on Saturday (14 April) and one on Sunday (15 April).

Emily-Jane Surgeoner, 11, who is competing as an S9, SB9 and SM9 para-swimmer, said: “I have been training really hard for this event and I’m looking forward to seeing if all my training is making a difference.

“Most importantly, I just want to swim well. My goal is to make a number of qualifying times so that I can swim at my first British Para International Swim Meet at the end of May. Of course, my other goal is to have improved on my overall times too.”

Extremely proud

Jane Nickerson, Swim England CEO, said: “This is a great opportunity for young swimmers to compete against other athletes from across the country.

“It was fantastic to see our Team England para-swimmers compete and win medals at the Commonwealth Games. I am sure their performances will have inspired some of those swimming this weekend to swim even faster.

“We may even see some of these athletes pulling on their own international cap at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

“Swim England is extremely proud to be supporting this event and hope that everyone competing and supporting those taking part, have a magnificent weekend.”

Barry Horne, chief executive for EFDS, added: “For many swimmers, this weekend will be their first national competition experience.

“This is testament to the amount of work delivered at grassroots level to introduce new swimmers and grow participation. We’re proud to be bringing the event to the South coast this year.

“Our thanks go to Swim England, SOS, Southampton City Council and Active Nation for their support.”

Session one on Saturday begins at 9am with the afternoon races from 2pm. On Sunday, the action begins at 9am. Tickets are available to buy on the day from the venue.