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Paralympian Helped on Road to Rio by University of Worcester Students and Staff

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A sixteen-year-old swimmer has been given a helping hand on her road to the Paralympic Games by students and staff at the University of Worcester.

Becky Redfern will compete in Rio in the 100m breaststroke S13 for visually impaired swimmers in September.

The Worcester Swimming Club member has been selected for the British squad and said that the strength and conditioning training she has been doing through the University of Worcester’s outreach programme has made a difference.

Becky, of Droitwich, who has a degenerative eye condition called retinitis pigmentosa, spends nearly 16 hours a week training in Worcester Swimming Pool.

But for the last 18 months she, along with her fellow club swimmers, has been working with trainee students and staff from the University of Worcester.

“It can be tough but it’s worth it,” she said.

“It’s helped me because I got some strength beyond all the water training.

“My core strength has improved.

“I have dropped four seconds in a year and this has played a role in that.”

The former Droitwich Spa High School student, who has just finished her GCSEs, broke the world record in her distance a few weeks ago.

Becky said: “I cannot wait for the Paralympics.

“I'm looking forward to spending time with the team and getting to know everyone but also racing and hopefully coming home with my first Paralympic medal.

“My Dad and older brother are coming over to Rio for a couple of days to watch me race which is also very exciting and quite comforting to know that my family will be there with me when I do race.”

Becky’s extra training is part of the University’s community work with a number of local sports clubs.

Undergraduate and Master’s students in sports science and sports science coaching voluntarily work with the athletes either at the University of Worcester Arena or in the community perfecting their practical skills for a career as a strength and conditioning coach.

They are supervised by University strength and conditioning coach Marc Scriven.

Becky has worked with several students, but most recently with second year sports science student Roderick Curtis.

“Teams within the community get access to high level coaching and in some cases facilities which they wouldn’t have or wouldn’t be able to afford under normal circumstances,” said Marc.

“The students will not get a job without practical experience, if they cannot show they can apply what they have learnt.

“It’s nice for our students to be able to have an impact on the community and in Becky’s case help her achieve her Paralympic dream.”

 

Pictures: Becky Redfern with University strength and conditioning coach Marc Scriven