Games Maker Slater aims for European swimming glory

Steph Slater, a volunteer at London 2012, watched on as British swimmers such as Ellie Simmonds swam to victory at the Paralympic Games, and now she will be in the pool at the 2014 Euros aiming to add more titles to the team haul. 24 Jun 2014
British swimmer Stephanie Slater comes up for a breath of air.

Great Britain's Stephanie Slater is establishing herself as one of the fastest rising stars in para-swimming.

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By Ryan Hills | for the IPC

“I feel as if I've been a part of the team all my life."

Step back in time three years, and it looked to the outsider that Great Britain’s Stephanie Slater would have to prematurely turn her back on her swimming career.

Aged just 20, Slater suffered unexplained nerve damage and lost the strength in her left arm, before eventually losing use of it completely.

But the tough Lancashire girl, after volunteering as a Games Maker at the Aquatics Centre at London 2012, simply reinvented herself to become one of European para-swimming's brightest hopes.

This summer, she hopes to achieve glory at the Commonwealth Games and August’s IPC Swimming European Championships in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.

“I'm quietly confident to better my results from last year's World Championships” Slater said.

The 2013 Worlds in Montreal, Canada, saw her pick up two individual silver medals for the 100m butterfly S8 and 200m individual medley SM8, whilst she claimed gold as part of the 4x100m medley relay team.

This season, Slater has followed up on that performance by breaking the 100m butterfly S8 world record at a meet in Glasgow, Great Britain,

Her rise is in no small part due to the team she joined at Montreal 2013: “We are all so close to each other, and always give one another support which, I like to think, helps us swim faster!

“I feel as if I've been a part of the team all my life. Last year was my first time, and was obviously a big experience, but I'm just so proud to be going with them again this year.”

The squad, which includes the likes of quadruple Paralympic champion Ellie Simmonds and double world champion Oliver Hynd, carried Great Britain to 39 medals from the pool at London 2012.

After the glorious days of London and the continued success of a third placed medals table finish at Montreal, spirits remain high in the camp: “The morale is really, really good,” Slater said.

Giving an insight into her daily lifestyle, the 23-year-old said: “I do get quite a lot of downtime, because it's not just about training. There's obviously physio, nutrition, psychology to name a few, and these are a major part on top of the training.”

The training schedule is no doubt due to her recent move to the centre of British swimming, the National Performance Centre in Manchester.

“With moving closer the training's gone very well, and I'm looking to improve on last year,” she said.

Tickets and media accreditation for Eindhoven 2014, which take place from 4-10 August and will feature around 400 swimmers from 40 countries, are now available at the Eindhoven 2014 website.