Earlier today, the New Zealand IPC Swimming World Championships team was officially announced at the conclusion of the New Zealand Open Swimming Championships in Auckland. The team includes Rebecca Dubber, Mary Fisher, Georgia Gray, Nikita Howarth, Cameron Leslie, Hamish McLean, Sophie Pascoe and Jesse Reynolds.
Para-Swimming Head Performance Coach Jon Shaw was quoted by New Zealand Paralympics as saying, “We have got a very strong team with great depth of experience and enthusiasm. […] They have shown amazing form in the pool this week and we believe we have a high chance of medal success in #Glasgow2015.”
Pascoe set a new world record at the New Zealand Open Swimming Championships in the S10 100 meter freestyle with a time of 59.77. It was the first time anyone in her class had cracked the 1 minute barrier. She was quoted by Swimming New Zealand as saying, “That’s amazing. I’ve been chasing that minute mark for three years so to get it is fantastic,” Pascoe said. “It was fantastic to be able to get that world record at home in front of so many fans. They were great tonight, I could hear them as I came down that final 15 metres.”
Leslie is a two sport athlete, who has also represented New Zealand at the elite level as a member of the national rugby team. He was part of the team that competed at last year’s Danish hosted IWRF World Championships.With New Zealand not having qualified for the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London, Leslie was there as a swimmer, where he grabbed gold in the 150 meter SM4 individual medley, having won gold in the same event at the 2008 Games. He also won gold in this event at the last swimming Montreal hosted world championships in 2013. He also won bronze in Montreal in the men’s S5 50 meter backstroke.
S9 classified Gray was part of the New Zealand delegation at last year’s Pan Pacific Para-Swimming Championships. She had a fourth place in the women’s 50m freestyle. That competition was her international debut. Reynolds is another member returning to the squad, having been part of the Pan Pacific Para-Swimming Championships team. He finished fourth in the men’s S9 400 meter freestyle in a personal best time. Last year was a good year for Reynolds as he was a 2014 Parafed Waikato Awards nominee in the Life Unlimited Junior Sportsperson of the Year category.
The IPC Swimming World Championships are scheduled to get underway in July in Glasgow, Scotland.