Pascoe targets titles and PBs in Glasgow

One of New Zealand’s most successful swimmers, Sophie Pascoe will have to fight off rivals Elodie Lorandi and Canada’s Aurelie Rivard at the 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships. 06 Feb 2015
A picture of a woman in the pool with her head and shoulders above the surface

New Zealand’s Sophie Pascoe competes in the women’s 100m breaststroke final at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

ⒸGetty Images
By Abdullah Mahmood | For the IPC

“I believe this year will bring out some great swimmers less than two years out from the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.“

New Zealand’s multiple world and Paralympic champion Sophie Pascoe has her sights on the performance of her life at July’s 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships in Glasgow, Great Britain.

Pascoe, speaking with just over 150 days to go until the last major international competition before Rio 2016, intends to “retain my titles and swim personal best times.”

The 22-year-old from Christchurch is not only one of the world’s leading Paralympic swimmers but is also arguably one of her country’s leading athletes in any sport on the global stage.

Since winning three gold medals at Beijing 2008, followed up by three more at London 2012, the S10 swimmer has gone from strength to strength, winning five gold medals in the 50m freestyle, 100m backstroke, 100m butterfly, 100m breaststroke and 100m freestyle at the 2013 World Championships in Montreal, Canada.

While Pascoe likely goes into Glasgow 2015 as favourite, the S10 category is one of the most competitive in para-swimming. France’s world and Paralympic champion Elodie Lorandi and Canadian Aurelie Rivard are all expected to push their rival to the line in Glasgow.

Lorandi sealed her latest European titles in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, in 2014, whilst Rivard won bronze at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games to add to her growing reputation at just 18 years of age.

Add in the potential of Hungarian Bianka Pap, who won a bronze medal in Eindhoven at just 14 years of age and you would be forgiven for thinking that Pascoe would be feeling the heat. However the New Zealander says she is more likely to put pressure on herself.

“Pressure will always be on my shoulders being a world champion, however my biggest pressure is my own personal expectations,” Pascoe said. “I believe this year will bring out some great swimmers less than two years out from the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

“Everyone will be making sure they are on top form when at the World Championships. My classification will be challenging to gain a position on the podium in - which is exciting.”

This will not be Pascoe’s first trip to Glasgow, having competed at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre during the 2014 Commonwealth Games where she won gold in the 200m individual medley SM10, holding off the challenge of Rivard in the process, and 100m breaststroke SB10.

While she can expect strong home support for the likes of up-and-coming British swimmer Alice Tai, Pascoe is also looking forward to returning to Tollcross to compete in front of a passionate crowd.

“Tollcross was an exciting pool to compete at. With the spectators stands so close to the pool the atmosphere was electric, so I'm very much looking forward to seeing and hearing that again when I compete.”

Glasgow 2015 will feature 650 of the world’s best swimmers from 50 countries between 13-19 July.

Tickets are now on sale via Ticketmaster website priced at just GBP10/15 for adults for heats/finals, while all under-16s go free (terms and conditions apply).