A 27-strong British team will compete across the week-long Manchester 2023 Allianz Para Swimming World Championships - with the newly refurbished Manchester Aquatics Centre welcoming over 500 athletes from 67 nations.
The action begins on Monday 31st July with Britain’s Bethany Firth, Ellie Challis and Stephen Clegg all looking to retain one of their 2022 world titles on the opening day. Meanwhile, William Ellard will be the first of five British debutants to take to the blocks as he lines up for the Men’s S14 200m Freestyle with Faye Rogers, Rhys Darbey, Georgia Sheffield and Siena Oxby all making their senior international bow during the seven days of competition.
In total the British cohort contains ten swimmers who graced the top step of a world podium in Madeira last summer, with the trio of Challis, Grace Harvey and Poppy Maskill all looking to do so in the pool they train in each day.
Among the key names spearheading the home team is Paralympic and world Champion, Maisie Summers-Newton. The 21-year old won her first world title in the SM6 200m Individual Medley on home soil at London 2019, and begins her race programme looking to complete a hat-trick of wins in the event on Wednesday 2nd August.
Speaking at the pre-event Championship press conference, Summers-Newton commented on how different it was coming into her second home worlds:
“I definitely feel the expectation little bit this time - like my face is around the poolside and it’s on some of the banners and that’s definitely something to get used to! It puts a little bit of pressure on myself but really I know it’s important I come here and enjoy it, to take that pressure off myself and enjoy the atmosphere a home crowd brings.
“I’d love to defend my title and get some gold medals, or any type of medal would be amazing, but I think the main thing is to try and have fun and enjoy it as we’re only a year out from Paris. I want to lay down some really good times, training’s been going well so hopefully that will reflect what I can do in the pool.”
Carrying the Union Jack flag at the opening
ceremony will be Scott Quin, a stalwart of international teams since his debut
world championships at Montreal 2013. Quin’s involvement equally means the
Paralympic medallist has been a part of every edition of the event to take
place in Great Britain – Glasgow 2015, London 2019 and Manchester 2023.
The S14 Breaststroke specialist reflected on the wider impact of such championships, and how amazing it is to compete in front of a home crowd:
“What makes this so great is the developments you see through the sport when you have a home event - you see the next generation coming through and [the inspiration programme] coming to watch and get inspired about where their participation in the sport could take them.
“My parents have always come to support me, they’re like my support glue – for me London 2019 was something special as I missed out on the Games in 2012, and Manchester is special to me too as I qualified for my first international team here in 2011, so to come back here and compete in front of friends and family has real meaning to me.”
The championships conclude on Sunday 6th August with the final of the Mixed 4x100m Freestyle Relay 34pts, which will complete the 169 medal events contested at Manchester 2023.
Channel 4 will show a one-hour highlights programme on Sunday 20th August at 8.30am.
The British Para-Swimming team for the 2023 Para Swimming World Championships:
- Jessica-Jane Applegate, City of Norwich
- Jordan Catchpole, Team Waveney
- Ellie Challis, British Swimming Performance Centre Manchester
- Stephen Clegg, Edinburgh University
- Rhys Darbey, Nofio Clwyd
- Sam Downie, East Lothian
- William Ellard, St Felix School SC
- Louise Fiddes, Hatfield SC
- Bethany Firth, Ards SC
- Poppy Maskill, Alsager SC/British Swimming Performance Centre Manchester
- Rebecca Redfern, Worcester SC
- Faye Rogers, University of Aberdeen
- Toni Shaw, University of Aberdeen
- Georgia Sheffield, Bolton Metro Swimming Squad
- Maisie Summers-Newton, Northampton SC
- Brock Whiston, Barking and Dagenham AC
The athletes above gained selection after they achieved the consideration time as per the selection policy (individual) at the trials event.
- Grace Harvey, British Swimming Performance Centre Manchester
- Suzanna Hext, Swindon ASC
- Louis Lawlor, City of Glasgow ST
- Scott Quin, Edinburgh University
- Alice Tai, Ealing SC
- Cameron Vearncombe, Plymouth Leander
The athletes above gained selection at the discretion of the selection panel following the conclusion of the trials event.
- Oliver Carter, University of Stirling
- Scarlett Humphrey, Northampton SC
- Tully Kearney, Loughborough University
- Matthew Redfern, Worcester SC
The athletes above gained selection at the discretion of the selection panel to develop Great Britain’s representation within relay events.
- Siena Oxby, Stockport Metro SC
The athletes above gained selection at the discretion of the selection panel with regards to medal potential for the LA 2028 Paralympic Games.
British Para-Swimming selection policies can be found here.