Home crowd at fully integrated Games helps Summers-Newton complete medal set

With her latest victory at Birmingham 2022, Summers-Maisie can now call herself a Paralympic, world, European and Commonwealth champion 02 Aug 2022
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A close up of a female swimmer as she comes up for a breath during a breaststroke race.
Summers-Newton won her signature race by a huge margin, but already has her sights set on even bigger goals.
ⒸShaun Botterill/Getty Images
By Mary Barber | For World Para Swimming

England’s Maisie Summers-Newton showed to the world once again that she is the undisputed champion of women’s 100m breaststroke SB6.

The 20-year-old was roared to victory in front of a capacity home crowd at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games on August 1. It was the first time the race was held at a Commonwealth Games, and she won by a huge margin.

“It was really special, I am really pleased with the result,” she said as she thanked the home crowd for their support at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre. 

“I didn’t expect that roar. I’ve never experienced anything like that before, particularly after Tokyo with no spectators. It put a smile on my face and spurred us on a little bit more.”

The win completes the world record holder’s set of Paralympic, World and European titles in the event.

Summers-Newton was quickest off the blocks and stormed ahead of the field before she finished in 1:32.72, more than 10 seconds ahead of teammate Grace Harvey in silver and Canada's Camille Berube in bronze.

Come together

The Commonwealth Games are one of the only major international events with a fully integrated Para sports competition programme, which includes Para swimming. It means disabled and able-bodied athletes from the same country compete alongside each other with their medals combined in the same tally.

At Birmingham 2022 there are 4,500 athletes from 72 nations and territories competing in 19 sports, including eight Para sports – the most ever.

“I love that they [the Games] are so integrated,” said Summers-Newton. “I swim in a club [Northampton Swimming Club] that is integrated. I think it is so important for Para sport to feel included and inclusive."

Full set, and more to go

Despite completing her set of titles in the 100m breaststroke SB6, Summers-Newton still dreams of adding to her medal haul.

“I’ve achieved everything that I wanted to achieve and now it is about progressing on the little things to see now much better I can get and having fun," the swimmer said.

Summers-Newton won two gold medals for Great Britain at the 2020 Summer Paralympics in Tokyo: in the 100m breaststroke and in the SM6 200m individual medley, where she set the world record. The trainee primary school teacher is also a four-time world champion and three-time European champion.

Despite her past accomplishments, Summers-Newton's goals for the future remain as ambitious as ever.

“Paris 2024 is my goal. It has always been my dream to go to two Paralympic Games," she said. "I want to prove to myself that I can do it again at another Paralympics. I have also got the World Championships and World Series next year.”

Ahead of those major events, and after her victory at the Commonwealth Games, she is going to take a break from training and competing: “That’s my season finished now for this year, so definitely a few weeks off before I go straight back into it all again in September.”