TEENAGER Joshua Fairchild took one step closer to appearing at the Paralympic Games in Rio this summer after qualifying for Great Britain trials later this month.
The 17-year-old has made progress in four different events and will be hoping to represent his country in the 100m backstroke, 100m breaststroke, 100m freestyle as well as the 200m freestyle.
Joshua, who has been a member of Coventry Swimming Club since the age of eight, will now travel to Glasgow for the Paralympic Meet between April 23-27 where he will be hoping to make his Paralympic dream a reality.
“Ever since I heard I was going to Glasgow I have been training twice as hard,” Joshua told the Observer. “I am concentrating twice as hard and I am making sure I am ready to perform at my very best.
“The 200m freestyle is my main event mainly because I am better at the longer distance. I know when I need to change speeds but I will be doing my best to do well in all four events.
“If I stay calm, try and think big and just swim to the best of my ability that is the best I can do. If I qualify for Rio it will be really exciting to go out there and be part of the Great Britain team.”
Joshua has been competing in the s14 category for people with learning difficulties for two years having been in an enhanced learning environment since the age of six.
After being diagnosed with ASD (Autism) when he was eight, Joshua has had to overcome many hurdles to progress in the pool environment and he now trains up to seven times a week to compete at both local, national and international events.
His most recent success came at the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) summer meet where he walked away from Sheffield last summer with a bronze medal.
“When I got a bronze medal was a fantastic feeling,” Joshua added. “I was very nervous because it was my first big event but I kept my head down. It was amazing for me.
“It’s usually my first race when I feel nervous at the start and I breath fast, but after I’ve done that I’m fine.
“My parents have been really supportive and they’re all really proud of me. They introduced me to swimming and I’ve kept on improving but I never thought I’d get to where I am now.”
There are six other Coventry swimmers competing at the British Olympic Trials which are also being held in Glasgow from April 12-17.
Abigail Humphreys will be hoping to impress in the 200 and 400 individual medley, as well as the 800m freestyle,and the 400m individual medley.
Despite being at the bottom end of the age group, Eva Vicary will be looking to challenge for a place in the junior finals of the 200m and 400 freestyle events.
Last year’s junior finalist Megan Gibson will be hoping to repeat that feat again this time around in the 200m backstroke,
The 50m freestyle event one of the most competitive but Matt Bruce will be aiming for a spot in the final, while Joseph Lacovides and Alex Carroll will both be competing in the 400 individual medley.
“The club is immensely proud of its swimmers’ achievements to reach the Olympic and Paralympic trials, “said Coventry Swimming Club’s head coach Adam Ruckwood
“We are confident that each and every one of them will do themselves, their coaches, families and Club proud.”