31 swimmers head to Sardinia this weekend, in search of British success at the 5th Down’s Syndrome Open European Swimming Championships in Sardinia.
Selected and managed by Down Syndrome Swimming GB (DSS-GB) the British Team is set to improve on its 2017 European (Paris, France) and 2018 World Championship (Truro, Canada) successes, with GB taking 43 medals as 2017 European Champions and placing second on the medal table in 2018.
Over 100 swimmers are expected from from 16 countries, which include Croatia, Denmark, Russia, Spain, United States, and Italy.
GB swimmers are aged between 14 and 36 and come from all across the UK. DSS-GB report the squad has been growing in recent years, attracting younger athletes that have been inspired by the achievements of the Team. The 2019 Team is a strong mix of experienced athletes and newcomers, with 5 team members making their international debut.
The 2019 Team is led by GB Team Manager, Neil Lacey, supported by GB Coaches Keith Hall, Andrea Manson and Sandra Proudfoot.
Following a week of intense training at RGS Newcastle, GB Team Manager, Neil Lacey says, “the Team have worked extremely hard since the World Championships last summer and our squad are ready for a tough but exciting challenge”.
Lacey continues, “Our preparations have been very good with our recent training week in Newcastle and we will be looking to build on our medal haul from Paris 2 years ago”.
Swimmer, Mark Evens says “I am really looking forward to competing alongside my DSS-GB teammates. I am hoping to swim to the best of my ability and bring home some medals and points for my team. I hope that Team GBR will be European Champions once again and I can’t wait to swim in the relays. They are always so exciting!”.
Evens, a member of Hitchin Swimming Club holds the T21 SC Open World record in the 200m free, 400m free and 1500m freeand placed 3rd in the T21 male rankings at the 2018 World Championships.
Ellen Stephenson, is preparing to swim in 8 events at the Championships. A member of the Newcastle Swim Team, Stephenson is a multi-World Record holder (Mosaic) in her events. Reflecting on her involvement in swimming, Ellen Stephenson hopes “she is encouraging others with disabilities to follow their dreams.”
Team Captain, Caroline Faithfull, in her last event in this role says “thank you to the whole of DSS-GB. Good luck to the Team and to everyone, remember to practice the national anthem for all the medal ceremonies, be respectful of others and stand up!”
“We will be watching the GB Team with real interest” said Tracey McCillen, Chief Executive, UK Sports Association (UKSA). “Our partnership with DSS-GB is one that I am keen to see develop further. There is a real opportunity for us to strengthen the performance pathway for high performance swimmers with Down’s syndrome, which can include both Inas and DSISO Championships.”
“I wish all of the GB Team the best of luck and hope to see some strong performances and Gold medals for Britain!”
In 2017, UKSA incorporated sport for people with Down’s Syndrome into their plans in line with the introduction of new classes within Inas, the International Sports Federation. Alongside class II1 (intellectual impairment), Inas introduced II2 (Additional significant Impairment) and II3 (High Functioning Autism). The two new classes are in a pilot phase. Class II2 includes athletes with Down’s syndrome (Trisomy 21only), with Mosaic included in class II1.
The European Championships in Olbia, Sardinia are scheduled for 15th to 22nd September. The event is jointly hosted by SSD Progetto 2000 in association with the Italian Federation for Athletes with Intellectual Disability (FISDIR) under the auspices of the Down Syndrome International Swimming Organisation (DSISO).
The Championships in Sardinia includes events for swimmers with Down’s syndrome in Trisomy 21 (T21) and Mosaic. An individual with T21 Down’s syndrome has an extra copy of chromosome 21 in all their body cells. An individual with Mosaic Down’s syndrome has some cells with trisomy 21 and some cells with the typical number of chromosomes.
For more information about Inas events and classification visit the UKSA website.
For more information about the GB Team, the Championships and for results, visit the DSS-GB website Or follow them on Twitter @DSSGB1
The full 2019 GB Team swimmers:
Beth Greig, Arbroath St Thomas SC
Laura Logan, South Ayrshire ST
Cerys McCrindle, South Ayrshire ST
Chris Mcdonnell, Alnwick Dolphins/Richmond Dales ASC
Daniel Daley, Cheshire Penguins
Ellen Stephenson, Newcastle Swim Team/NE Disability SC
Andy Banks, Nova Centurion/Melton Mowbray SC/Bingham Penguins
Caitlin Hatfield, Winchester City Penguins SC
Alex Edwards, Bristol Sharks/Minehead & W Somerset SC
Caroline Faithfull (Captain), Taunton Deane SC/ Reading Cygnets
Holly Sullivan, Swindon ASC
Becky Turner, Gloucester City SC
Mark Evens, Hitchin SC
Holly Bocking, Colchester Phoenix ASC
Lucie Fickling, Wycombe & District SC
Mark Holmes, Colchester Phoenix
Zac Lacey, Seaclose SC/IW Swim Team
Ciara Mckenna, Berkhamstead SC/St Albans SO
William Lake, Harrogate Hotshots
William Roberts, Oundle Otters/PacTrak /Peterborough Special Olympics
Stephane Rouyer-Brown, Runnymede SC/Essex SO
Jemima Rudd-Jones, RTW Monson SC
Will Reed, London Borough of Hounslow SC/LDSC
Thomas Raddings, Marlins SC/Able2 Pontefract SO
Jake Vicars, Harrogate Hotshots/Able2 Pontefract SO
Helen Thompson, Colchester Phoenix ASC/Colchester SC
Florence Garrett, Wandsworth SC/LDSC
Dylan Hughes, Monnow SC
Harry Humphries, Bristol Sharks/ Soundwell/Hengrove/Warminster SC
Kathryn Martin, Bracknell and Wokingham SC/Reading Cygnets
Lizzie Allen, Alton & District SC/Electric Eels