In advance of World Down Syndrome Day, Down Syndrome Swimming GB (DSS GB) has its sights set to make big waves in 2022 with the launch of the British Down Syndrome Swimming Championships. The event will be held at K2 in Crawley from November 19th to 20th, 2022. All British swimmers with down syndrome are encouraged to enter.
UK Sports Association, CEO Tracey McCillen attended the Championship press launch on 10th March, alongside 2020 Paralympic and Beijing silver medallist, Ellie Challis celebrating with the organisers , sponsors, and the many athletes looking to showcase their talent in the pool this year.
Tracey McCillen commented, “What a pleasure to attend the British Down Syndrome Championships launch today. Superb to meet the powerhouse of sports professionals, parents, volunteers, and swimmers making this happen. I look forward to seeing you there!”
Inclusion for athletes with down syndrome has been at the forefront of the UK Sports Association’s plans since the International Federation, Virtus introduced in 2018 a new class that includes people with down syndrome. McCillen believes creating events like the British Championships pushes UKSA’s goal one step further.
“Our federation [Virtus] introduced a new class in elite sport which included athletes with down syndrome.” McCillen said, “For us as an organisation to be able to embrace that and show that there is a pathway for talented athletes to achieve and ultimately have the ambition of World and European Championships with Virtus is hugely important. We hope too for representation at the Virtus Global Games.”
“The launch of this new event will help to start the discussion in the UK around inclusion of athletes with Down syndrome to enable their elite development. Congratulations DSS-GB in getting it off the ground.”
The event opens the playing field to more athletes with down syndrome to win gold, silver, and bronze medals– one of which being Florence Garrett, two-time gold medallist, and female GB Swimming Team captain.
Florence Garrett told DSS-GB in an interview, “I’ve enjoyed every moment of my swimming career. Getting my first gold and bronze medal in my first ever competition– it was two years ago… When I won gold, it made me so happy.”
The British Down Syndrome Swimming Championships is hosted by DSS-GB and sponsored by Powerday and Keltbray.
In the world of elite sport, class S14/SB14 (Virtus class II1) is for athletes with intellectual impairment. This includes amongst others, athletes with down syndrome. Eligibility and classification for this group are managed by the UK Sports Association, working alongside other organisations, including British Swimming, to enable athletes to achieve classification.
Virtus introduced a new class II2, which includes athletes with Down syndrome. Elite events are available to athletes with down syndrome in class II2 through UKSA and Virtus at both European and World levels, including the Global Games.
For more information on the British Down Syndrome Swimming Championships in Crawley, contact email@example.com.
Down Syndrome Swimming GB’s poster for the event can be viewed HERE.
Watch the DSS-GB promotional video here