Nine international swimmers set off for the 2023 Virtus Global Games on 2nd June in Vichy as part of the SportExcel UK GB Team, in association with Down Syndrome Swimming GB (DSS-GB).
The 13 strong team comprises Cerys McCrindle (Ayr), Ellen Stephenson (Newcastle), Kathyrn Martin (Bracknell), Helen Thompson (Colchester), Lizzie Allen (Petersfield), Jemima Rudd-Jones (Tunbridge Wells), William Roberts (Peterborough), Mark Holmes (Colchester), Zac Lacey (Ryde, Isle of Wight). Supporting staff are Neil Lacey, Team Manager/Head Coach (Ryde, Isle of Wight), Andrea Manson, coach (Dumfries & Galloway), Ian Logan, coach (Ayr), Betty Logan, coach (Ayr).
Speaking about her international Virtus swimming debut, Cerys McCrindle said
“I feel very grateful to have been selected”. I love what I do and I have been training very hard and doing my best. I am happy to be representing Great Britain and also to be flying the flag for Scotland. I hope to achieve is to do the best I can in my races and hopefully make finals and even medals.”
British international swimmer, William Roberts said
“When I got the letter about Virtus Global Games, I was amazed and feel very privilege and proud to represent my country. I hope to do my very best in my races for my club, my GB team and for my King and Country. I love swimming because it gives me my fitness and health and my best friends and teammates. I also like to travel to different places to compete around UK and the world and meet other people.”
Tracey McCillen, Chief Executive, SportExcel UK said
“Thrilled doesn’t come close! The excitement is building with just one week to go, so to see the swimming Team ready, willing and very able to showcase all they have in Vichy is fantastic.
Our thanks go to DSS-GB for all their work not only with SportExcel UK but in preparing a strong Team for the Games. Its set to be a challenging event, but our GB swimmers have earned their places and will hold their own as part of the world’s best! Good luck to everyone on the Team – we are all cheering for you.”
Neil Lacey, GB Team Manager says
“We are thrilled to be taking a team of swimmers to the Global Games with the support of Sport Excel UK. The swimmers have all worked hard to achieve their place in the team and we look forward to an exciting 5 days of competition. The team will be looking to compete at what is a very high calibre of event and we hope to bring success home not only in our performances, but also in the form of medals as well.
Working with Sport Excel has enabled us to access what we believe is a very high standard of event and our nine swimmers, coaches and support staff hope this will lead to a regular GB team attending both Global and Regional Virtus events.”
Cristina Bowman, Chair DSS-GB said
‘We are delighted to take part in the 2023 Virtus Global Games. Part of DSS-GB’s Strategic plan is to provide swimming opportunities to athletes with Down syndrome in national and international swimming events and to develop strong and meaningful partnerships with significant sporting organisations.
DSS-GB’s collaboration with SportExcel UK has enabled both organisations to realise their shared vision for the selected athletes to achieve their full potential. We look forward to further developing this important relationship, in particular, to working alongside each other to develop the II2 classification to ensure fair competition for our athletes in para-sport.”
The Virtus Global Games is the world’s largest elite sports event for athletes with an intellectual impairment. Athletes from Europe, America, Asia, Africa, and Oceania will perform across ten main sports, with over 1200 athletes expected. Demonstration events are also included at every edition to reflect the most popular sports of the host nation that are not already on the Virtus programme.
Many athletes who have made their major international debut at the Global Games have gone on to win Paralympic titles. The event, hosted by the Virtus Member Organisation for France – the Fédération Française du Sport Adapté (FFSA) is scheduled every 4 years in the year ahead of the Paralympic Games.
British athletes will compete in the 2023 Global Games in athletics, para-dressage, judo, karate, swimming, and tennis. The Team is presented by SportExcelUK in collaboration with Down Syndrome Swimming GB, British Judo Association, Lawn Tennis Association, and the British Karate Federation, with selection supported by Home Country NGBs in swimming and athletics.
SportExcelUK promotes, supports, and facilitates talented sports people in the UK to train, compete and excel in national and international sport. It is the only official Great Britain member of Virtus is responsible for and manages eligibility and classification across the UK and manages GB Teams to Virtus events.
For more information on the GB Team and the Virtus Global Games contact SportExcel UK.
You can keep up to date with the GB Swimming Team results via the Global Games website.