8 September 2019
Millward hails Britain's balance ahead of World Championships
Paralympic gold medallist Stephanie Millward feels Great Britain have found the ideal blend in their team as the capital prepares to host the biggest-ever World Para Swimming Championships.
The 24-strong squad boasts a heady mix of established stars and emerging talent – from five-time Paralympic champion Ellie Simmonds to 15-year-old Ellie Challis, already a world record holder.
Millward, who scooped silver in the London Aquatics Centre in 2012 before going on to gold in Rio, is enthused by the fondue of talent assembled by the host nation.
“The team has some new faces which are fresh to this competition environment, and that’s exciting for me as I’ve got so much experience I can share from over the years,” said the 37-year-old.
“I’m really excited to see how well they’re going to go and looking forward to cheering them on.
“This championship is perfect timing to test ourselves against the world’s best because we are one year away from the Paralympic Games.”
The last time the global gathering was hosted on these shores was Glasgow in 2015 and Simmonds, Alice Tai and Jessica-Jane Applegate will once again go for glory on the world stage.
There is pedigree wherever you look in British colours, with triple gold medallist Bethany Firth and S6 star Ellie Robinson aiming to impose themselves as defending Paralympic champions.
World record holder Reece Dunn, European champion Toni Shaw and Challis are at the emerging end of the group that Millward believes will wallow in the warmth of a home crowd
“I’m expecting noise!” she said.
“That’s what I remember from the London Paralympics - just the noise and the incredible excitement of the crowd as you walk out ready to do your race in this venue - all you hear are shouts of good luck.”
Every British competitor that wins either gold or silver in the event automatically banks a place at Tokyo 2020.
Despite what’s at stake, head coach Rob Aubry said he had no hesitation in blooding youngsters with the Paralympics just under a year away.
“We have selected a team that will not just make finals, but challenge for medals in front of a home crowd,” he said.
“With a year to go until Tokyo, we have also selected a couple of new faces onto the team, to gain valuable experience within the final preparation phase.
“These athletes will be working hard on race preparation and learning what it takes to deliver their best performances under pressure.”
Joint the ParalympicsGB movement
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