A group of 49 athletes has been selected to join the British Para-Swimming Podium (13), Podium Potential (18) Programme and Para-Academy (18) as the sport enters the opening season of the 2020 Paralympic cycle.
The sport has been working through a robust performance review programme with coaches and athletes to decide who meets the UK Sport programme criteria and will receive direct support through the World Class Performance Programme.
Selected athletes will receive access to world-class sports science and medicine services, advanced training camp and competition opportunities and support from British Swimming performance staff and National Institute of Sport programmes across the country.
At the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, the swimmers returned home with a total of 47 medals, including 16 golds, which made up almost a third of the total medal haul for ParalympicsGB.
British Para-Swimming will continue to work closely with the ASA, Scottish Swimming and Swim Wales to identify and recruit new talent to really capitalise on the Rio 2016 Games performance.
Athletes have now returned to training for their first season of the 2020 Paralympic cycle and are working hard to make sure they have the right foundations ahead of the four years ahead of them.
National Performance Director Chris Furber explained: “Rio marked the end a really strong cycle for British Para-Swimming. We reversed the downward trend and we achieved some of the best results ever for the sport at a Paralympics
"However, as predicted the standard of competition in Rio took another leap forwards and while it’s important to enjoy our success we can’t miss a beat as we now prepare for Tokyo.
“The beginning of a cycle gives us the chance to take stock of where we are as a programme and create the best opportunities for our developing athletes to come through ahead of the 2020 Paralympics.
“The programme criteria that we put in place is based on whether the athlete has demonstrated that they on a focused path to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games where we expect competition standards to be even greater than in Rio.
“We all have the desire to be even better in Tokyo and in the opening season of the quadrennial we will be working to ensure athletes get all of the challenges they need to improve. The next step is to ensure athletes and coaches have the right performance plans in place ahead of a tough 2017.”
Performance Pathway Manager Craig Nicholson added: “This last season has seen some significant performances from our younger athletes and as we move into the next four-year cycle to Tokyo we have made some changes to the structure, where there will be two groups of developing athletes.
“The Podium Potential programme will continue with 18 selected athletes, this is a strong focused group and they show the potential to reach the podium in 2020. This will be underpinned by a new Para-Academy Squad which will form the transition and confirmation process from Home Nation talent programmes onto the World Class Programme.
“This a really exciting opportunity for the programme to engage with 18 new young athletes who are currently showing they have the potential to be at 2020 or 2024 and to expose them to the what the expectations are of the World Class Programme prior to them hopefully being selected in the future. As a programme we are looking forward to supporting and working with the athletes and their coaches during the coming seasons.”
Ellie Simmonds will be taking a short break from competition after the Paralympic Games before returning to full-time training next year and it has been agreed that she will not be included in this year's Podium programme.
Athletes selected for the Podium programme are:
Athletes selected for the Podium Potential programme are:
Athletes selected for the Para-Academy are: