Schwab targeting fifth Paralympics at Rio 2016

Having made it through the US trials for wheelchair basketball, Christina Schwab can almost plan for her fifth Paralympic Games. 07 Jan 2016
Darlene Hunter of USA

Darlene Hunter of USA battles the Australian wheelchair basketball team Semi Final match at the London 2012 Paralympic Games

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By US National Wheelchair Basketball Association

"I think that one of the biggest things we looked at was the trust that the athletes have in one another and the chemistry they have developed over the years."

Two-sport super star Christina Schwab has made it through the cuts of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games Selection Camp for the US women’s wheelchair basketball team. Should she make the final roster later this year, she will become a five-time US Paralympian having represented Team USA in wheelchair basketball in 2000, 2004 and 2008, and track and field at the 2012 Paralympics.

Schwab is focused on adding another Paralympic medal, after helping the US women's wheelchair basketball team to gold medals in 2004 and 2008. She also played on four women's World Championships from 1998-2010.

The three-day (3-6 January) selection camp for the US women's wheelchair basketball team consisted of scrimmages and a variety of evaluation drills. The initial selection of 11 athletes is comprised of seven wheelchair basketball US Paralympians, eight of the 12 returning from the 2014 World Championships, and 10 athletes from the gold-medal winning 2015 Parapan Am Games team.

"I think that one of the biggest things we looked at was the trust that the athletes have in one another and the chemistry they have developed over the years. This was certainly a factor in how they worked together," said US women's wheelchair basketball head coach Stephanie Wheeler. "These characteristics are an important piece for us in moving forward and working towards Rio. It's important for the athletes to have trust in one another for us to perform at our best."

Two-time Paralympians Becca Murray and Natalie Schneider will attempt to make their third consecutive Paralympic Games, after winning in 2008 and finishing fourth in 2012.

Five athletes are in position to make an appearance in their second Paralympic Games. Rose Hollermann, Darlene Hunter, Desiree Miller, and Jennifer Poist are attempting to make their second US Paralympic team in women's wheelchair basketball. Mackenzie Soldan, a London 2012 Paralympian in wheelchair tennis, is vying for her second Paralympics, however this time in wheelchair basketball. All five were members of the 2015 Parapan American Games and 2014 women's World Championships teams.

A trio of upcoming elite athletes will attempt to make their first Paralympics.

Megan Blunk and Gail Gaeng, who were both part of the 2014 World Championships team, will be joined by Abigail Dunkin, in their quest for a trip to Rio de Janeiro, 7-18 September.

The US women's team qualified for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games by winning the 2015 Parapan American Games.

The athletes will participate in a variety of camps and friendly international competition leading up until the date of nomination to the 2016 US Paralympic Team. The final selection of athletes, which may include up to 12 athletes, will be announced no later than 26 July, which is in accord with the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games Selection Procedures for Women's Wheelchair Basketball.

Joining Head Coach Wheeler on the sidelines will be assistant coach Trooper Johnson and Kearstin Gehlhausen serving as the team leader.

The US women's team finished fourth at the London 2012 Paralympics, after claiming the gold medal at the Beijing 2008 and Athens 2004 Paralympic Games.

Rio 2016 Paralympic Games

US women's wheelchair basketball selection camp roster

•Megan Blunk

•Abby Dunkin

•Gail Gaeng

•Rose Hollermann

•Darlene Hunter

•Desiree Miller

•Becca Murray

•Jennifer Poist

•Natalie Schneider

•Christina Schwab

•Mackenzie Soldan