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17915-Grace Harvey photo

Grace Harvey

Swimming

Biography

Impairment information

Classification
S6, SB5, SM6

Further personal information

Occupation
Athlete, Student
Languages
English

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She learned to swim at age four, and joined Hoddesdon Swimming Club in Hertfordshire, England, at age nine. She was classified as a Para swimmer at age 11.
Why this sport?
She first took up swimming as a form of physiotherapy, to help control spasms in her legs caused by cerebral palsy. But after watching the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens, she decided she wanted to compete. "I decided to join a swimming club because I watched the Paralympics and saw people who walked like me. I remember thinking, 'Oh wow, I want to do that too!'"
Club / Team
National Performance Centre Manchester [GBR] / Hoddesdon Swimming Club [GBR]:
Name of coach
Rob Aubry [national], GBR

International debut

Year
2018
Competing for
Great Britain

General interest

Memorable sporting achievement
"When I received my first British kit, you know when I first made it onto a world-class programme, and it was completely overwhelming. Hanging up and putting on my kit every day to come to the pool is one of the proudest moments of my life." (teamengland.org, 24 Aug 2021)
Hero / Idol
British Para swimmers Ellie Simmonds and Josef Craig. (itv.com, 02 Jul 2021; studentnews.manchester.ac.uk, 06 Jan 2020)
Superstitions / Rituals / Beliefs
She puts her hair in French braids before a competition. (britishswimming.org, 24 Jan 2018)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Just to keep at it. Even though the journey will be tough, all the friends and memories that will come of the journey will come, and will be the best experience of your life." (studentnews.manchester.ac.uk, 06 Jan 2020)
Awards and honours
In 2018 she was named Fresher of the Year at the University of Manchester Sports Awards in England. (Twitter profile, 18 Jul 2018)

In 2012 she was named Para Athlete of the Year by the borough of Broxbourne, England. (sportsaid.org.uk, 10 Mar 2014)
Ambitions
She plans to study dentistry. (mancunion.com, 20 Nov 2021)
Impairment
She has cerebral palsy. (herts.ac.uk, 01 Sep 2020; hertfordshiremercury.co.uk, 03 May 2013)
Other information
FIRST FOOTSTEPS IN JAPAN
In January 2020, while on a three-week training camp with the British national team in Suzuka, Japan, she was able to walk for the first time in her life thanks to a robotic suit developed by Suzuka University of Medical Science. "We were invited to the Suzuka medical university. Japan have an ageing population and they were looking at something that could help them, so I was asked if I would like to participate and try it on and I said yes, definitely. It was a suit with some wires which picks up the messages in your brain and allows the leg muscles to walk. It was the first time that I had ever stood up flat, and to experience what an able-bodied life was like was completely indescribable. It was an opportunity I never thought I would have, and I was on cloud nine." (thebigkickoff.com, 20 May 2020)

BALANCING SPORT AND STUDY
During her immunology studies at the University of Manchester in England, she studied part-time in her second year, before choosing to take a year out in the build-up to the 2020 Paralympic Games. (mancunion.com, 20 Nov 2021)

OTHER ACTIVITIES
She has trained to become a 'Mental Health Champion' for the British Para swimming team. (manchester.ac.uk, 25 Aug 2021)