Gold Coast 2018: Swimmers named

Five countries announce teams for April’s Commonwealth Games 25 Jan 2018
Close up of swimmer doing breast stroke

Sophie Pascoe is a nine-time Paralympic champion

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Sophie Pascoe and Ollie Hynd, two of the world’s best Para swimmers, have been named to represent New Zealand and England respectively at April’s Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Nine-time Paralympic champion Pascoe, 24, headlines New Zealand’s 19-strong aquatics team and will be hoping to add to the two gold medals she won at Glasgow 2014.

Joining Pascoe in the New Zealand team are Rio 2016 Paralympians Jesse Reynolds and Tupou Neiufi, who will both make their Commonwealth debuts, alongside newcomers Chris Arbuthnott and Celyn Edwards.

Graeme Maw, Paralympics New Zealand Programme Manager said Para swimmers have been performing exceptionally well throughout 2017 and will look to Pascoe to lead the team. "We have so much experience in the group with Sophie Pascoe who will undoubtedly be a force in the pool. Alongside Sophie will be Jesse, Tupou, Chris and Celyn, we are very excited with the group of Para swimmers competing on the Gold Coast,” he said.

Team England has named 39 swimmers to compete at Gold Coast 2018 where Hynd is set to compete in his second Games, having won gold at Glasgow 2014.

Hynd is one of the few swimmers in the world to have claimed the swimming Grand Slam having held Paralympic, world, European and Commonwealth titles all at the same time. He is a two-time Paralympian and during a glittering career has won three Paralympic and four world titles. He is the current world record holder in the 200m and 400m freestyle S8 events, as well as the 200m individual medley S8.

“I am very proud to be selected for my second Commonwealth Games, it’s a great privilege to represent Team England. I can’t wait to get out to Gold Coast and experience the amazing atmosphere of the games. In the pool I’ve been working very hard to be in the best shape possible to try and defend the title I gained four years ago in Glasgow,” said the 23-year-old.

Other star names alongside Hynd in Team England include Jonathan Fox and Eleanor Robinson.

Two youngsters – Toni Shaw and Beth Johnston - have been named to Scotland’s team for Gold Coast 2018. Holder of an incredible 14 Scottish records in the S9 and 10 categories, 14-year-old Shaw is the youngest athlete named for Team Scotland for April’s event to date.

Johnston, 16, will compete in the 200m individual medley and showed great from in 2017 taking two golds and one silver at the World Para Swimming World Series in Indianapolis, as well as setting Scottish records over 50m and 100m backstroke.

Ally Whike, Scottish Swimming Performance Director, said: ““Both Toni and Beth have upped their game throughout the qualification period and I’ve been impressed by their approach to each meet they have competed in. This will hold them in good stead to perform at their best come April.”

Jack Thomas and Alex Rosser have both been selected to represent Wales in the men’s 200m freestyle S14.

Thomas won bronze in the 200m freestyle S14 event at Glasgow 2014 and went on to secure two silver medals at the 2014 European Championships in the Netherlands in the 100m backstroke and 200m individual medley, as well as a bronze in the 200m freestyle.

Rosser, 21, started competing at the age of seven, following in the footsteps of his parents who were both international swimmers. The pinnacle of his career to date is finishing fourth in the 2017 World Para Swimming World Series event in Berlin, Germany.

Northern Ireland’s sole Para swimmer at Gold Coast 2018 will be Barry McClements. The 16-year-old made his international debut at the 2016 European Championships in Portugal, where he recorded personal bests in six of his seven events.

The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games will take place from 4-15 April.