Rebecca Redfern’s road to Rio started in September 2014 when she joined the English para swimming talent pathway, although it was thought at that time that she was looking at a road to Tokyo (2020) rather than Rio. Her rate of improvement since then under the watchful eye of Worcester Head Coach Mark Stowe has been nothing short of astronomical.

When Rebecca joined WSC in early 2014, she had never achieved a County QT. Within her first year at WSC she not only made her first County QT (aged 14), but she went on to make a County open final where she finished 4th. She continued to improve to the point that she now achieves Regional QTs, and is getting close to National qualification.

Whilst she enjoys the improvements on the able bodied scene, it is within para swimming that her performances have put her into an international spotlight.  She is a Visually Impaired athlete who competes with an S13 classification.

During the summer of 2015, she represented England Central at the Sainsbury’s School Games, and came away with three gold medals from three events, breaking a British record in the progress. She followed that up in December 2015 with a new European record at the English Federation of Disability Sport Nationals, swimming a time that was inside the Rio consideration standard for Team GB, although she would need to hit that time again at the British Para Swimming International Meet in April 2016.

BPSIM16 followed the British Champs in Glasgow in April, and Rebecca had a couple of minor injuries to overcome in the latter stages of the build-up.  Not to be held back though, she produced the goods!  In her heat, she swam a relatively slow time, although her place in the final was secured. After a very anxious afternoon, she exceeded all expectations in the final where she not only beat the Rio consideration time by a full three seconds, she also broke a World Record that had stood for 14 years.

With only one day to come to terms with her success, she was whisked off to Madeira to make her GB international debut in the IPC European Championships where she came away with a Silver medal, missing gold by a mere two hundredths of a second! An absolutely outstanding start to her international career.

After Madeira, Rebecca returned to the reality of school and GCSE exams, although in the final days of revision, her place with Team GB for Rio2016 was announced. She now has less than four months to prepare for Rio, the first of which will be spent in the exam hall, although training will of course continue throughout. With so many preparation camps and media events to come, the four months will fly by.

Rebecca’s Dad, Steve, who is an official and committee member at WSC, said how he is “so proud of my daughter, but also really chuffed with the standard of coaching she receives from the staff at the club”. He also said that he is “very grateful for the support from swimmers and parents throughout the club. This a really exciting time for our family, and we welcome and appreciate the opportunity to share the success with our wider swimming family at WSC.”

Worcester Swimming Club Head Coach Mark Stowe said, “Becky embodies the values of Worcester Swimming Club.  Her attitude and behaviour are first class, she works exceptionally hard and is a real team player too. I think it’s wholly fitting that she is the first Worcester swimmer to qualify for an Olympic/Paralympic Games. She is also a ‘big occasion’ swimmer, so I have every confidence that she will perform as brilliantly in Rio as she did at Trials”.