Swimming: Pascoe in pursuit of Glasgow gold

By David Leggat

Kiwi medallist heads back to Arizona with training team this week to begin build-up for latest campaign.

Sophie Pascoe landed five golds and three records at last year's IPC world championships in Montreal, Canada. Photo / Getty Images
Sophie Pascoe landed five golds and three records at last year's IPC world championships in Montreal, Canada. Photo / Getty Images

If it works don't change it might be Sophie Pascoe's motto as she sets her sights on more international success at the Glasgow Games next month.

Five gold medals, three in world record time at last year's IPC world championships in Montreal - for which the Christchurch 21-year-old won the International Paralympic Committee's athlete of the month award for last August - would be hard to top.

But Pascoe is determined to make the most of her two events at the Tollcross swimming centre, which fall shortly before the Panpac-Para swimming championships in Pasadena, California, from August 6-10.

"Every competition I go to is a new challenge, a new place, new culture, and going away with the able-bodied team and lots of other sports we don't have at the Paralympics, it's really exciting," Pascoe said.

One of her golds in Montreal was in a Glasgow event, the SB9 100m breaststroke, but she hasn't raced the SM10 200 individual medley since London two years ago.

Before Montreal, Pascoe spent time in Flagstaff, Arizona, with her training support group. Clearly it didn't hurt once she got to Canada, so Pascoe is repeating the exercise, and leaves for the Grand Canyon state again on Thursday. She'll spent about four weeks there, then meet the rest of the New Zealand team in Majorca for a week before getting to Glasgow.

She will be accompanied by her coach Roly Crichton, a bio-mechanist and a new training partner, North Shore-based Hayley Edmonds.

"That's exciting, to give me that extra pacing. I'm in six events in the PanPacs so it's going to be a long time away from home, and very busy in the pool."

Te Awamutu teenager Nikita Howarth, who won a world title in Montreal, is the other para swimmer going to Glasgow,

"That's really exciting. She's 15 years old, and is exactly where I was when I was 15. She's learning each time she goes away and winning gold last year was huge for her. It's a good stepping stone for her and I'm expecting big things."

One of Pascoe's biggest rivals, Summer Mortimer, has switched allegiance from Canada to the Netherlands. Pascoe will likely start favourite in both disciplines. So will it be all about winning, or times?

"I going to be after PBs [personal bests] in my two races; that's all I'm going for. At this stage competition isn't really an issue for me," she said.

"When I get there that's when the game face is on.

"But everything is based on time. Every time you go to race to beat our previous times and records and I'm wanting to lower those times. Whether that gets me on to the podium or not is a bonus."

Focus on the pool

• Sophie Pascoe will contest two events in Glasgow - the SB9 category 100m breaststroke on July 28 (NZT) and the SM10 200m individual medley on July 30.
• New Zealand have one other swimmer in the Para competition, Te Awamutu's Nikita Howarth, who contests the S8 100m freestyle on July 26.

- NZ Herald

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