SWIMMING - Coventry hosts British Junior Para Swimming Championships - The Coventry Observer

SWIMMING - Coventry hosts British Junior Para Swimming Championships

MORE than 100 of the most talented swimmers in the UK – as well as representatives from Spain and Ireland – competed in Coventry in a major championships.

The British Junior Para Swimming Championships took place at the Alan Higgs Centre with around 130 athletes aged eight to 18 competing in a series of races across different distances and para classifications.

The event, organised by Activity Alliance in partnership with Swim England, is growing year on year and saw swimmers qualify through a series of regional meets and other events.

A team of volunteers from Activity Alliance, City of Coventry Swimming Club and United by 22 supported the championships, which also enjoyed a visit from Birmingham Commonwealth Games mascot Perry the Bull.

The event has been running for around 20 years and has previously seen the likes of Ellie Simmonds – one of team GB’s most decorated Paralympians – competing.

Head of events and programme at Activity Alliance, Jannine Walker, said: “We were really pleased to be in Coventry again. Historically, we’ve taken this event around the country but when we came here in 2022 we really liked it because of the location, the venue – which is really accessible – and we’ve had great support from City of Coventry Swimming Club too.

“We want this to be the home of the British Junior Para Swimming Championships because it works so well and they put on another amazing event.

“There was some truly outstanding talent on show across the weekend and this can be a real stepping stone to even bigger things for some of the athletes. Racing here in such a great setting against the very best, in front of a crowd and under the strictest competition rules will stand them in good stead for the future.

“And, who knows, you might see one or two of them competing in the Paralympics in 2028.”

Will Newton is one such swimmer who harbours hopes of reaching Los Angeles in 2028.

The 16-year-old from Nuneaton, who represents City of Coventry Swimming, made the final in both the Open MC 100m freestyle on the Open 200m IM.

Newton, who trains at the Alan Higgs Centre nine times a week, said: “I’ve really enjoyed the event and I was very happy to make it to the finals.

“Swimming gives me a real a challenge to work towards and I’d love to make it to the Paralympics. I know that it will take a lot of hard work and more competitions like this one.”

Newton’s coach, Sam Fairchild, added: “We had three swimmers competing this weekend who have all achieved personal bests – and it has been fantastic to have it in our own city.”

Centre manager of the Alan Higgs Centre, Laura Williams, added: “We are delighted to have hosted such an incredible event with some of the most talented swimmers in the country competing.

“The feedback from the event organisers, athletes and spectators has been fantastic and once again shows just how great Coventry is at putting on a sporting spectacular.”

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