Paralympics - Swansea supplies athletes for Team GB and training camp for Mexican team

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Three Swansea University students are members of the Team GB Paralympics squad. The University, with its multi-million pound training facilities, has also been chosen as the base for training by the Mexican Paralympic team.

Gemma Almond, David Smith and Matt Whorwood have all been picked to represent Great Britain in the Paralympics, which run from 29 August – 9 September.

Gemma, from Shrewsbury, is currently studying History at Swansea. She began swimming seriously at the age of four after hydrotherapy following an operation.   She trains in Swansea and is coached by Billy Pye.

Gemma said: “I'm really excited to be going to my first Paralympic games particularly because it is a UK event and a once in a lifetime opportunity in front of a home crowd where all my family will be able to be present.    I'm looking forward to the experience having trained for over ten years.  I moved to Swansea last September for university and have had the chance to train in a high performance centre environment, and it is great to have seen all the hard work pay off.”

David Smith, who is studying Aerospace Engineering, is representing Great Britain in Boccia.   Aged 14, he became the youngest ever player to secure the title of British Champion and he was crowned World Champion at the age of 18. He is currently ranked as the world no. 2 and was part of the gold medal winning BC1/BC2 Team at his first Paralympic Games in Beijing 2008.  

David said: "I am happy to have been selected for the London 2012 Paralympic Games but my job is only just about to begin and I hope when the job is done I can look back and say: "I did my best!"

Matt Whorwood is studying for a degree in Mechanical Engineering at Swansea University. He first learnt to swim as a child on the beaches of Newquay.   He made his debut representing Great Britain in 2006, and won two bronze medals at the Beijing Olympics. 

Matt said: "On the scoreboard at my training centre, Wales National Pool Swansea, has been a countdown to the Olympic Games and you can certainly see how months turn to weeks, weeks turn to days and days turn to hours. I received my kit which made the whole thing begin to feel very real indeed.  I am very much looking forward to wearing it proud alongside my fellow athletes and team staff in August.

Swansea University would also like to wish luck to alumni Liz Johnson (Swimming) and James Roberts (Sitting Volleyball), who will also be competing in London. 

We are also delighted to welcome the Mexican Paralympic squad to Swansea.  They will be based with us for their pre-Games training camp, making use of the University's sports facilities.  More information about our Mexican guests will be available shortly.