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Last Updated: Friday, 1 December 2006, 17:12 GMT
Making a splash
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The 2006 International Paralympic Committee World Swimming Championships take place in Durban from 2-7 December.

Great Britain will be represented by 33 swimmers who will not only be looking for success in South Africa but will also want to prove their passion and focus to the rest of the world as they progress towards the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games.

The GB team features athletes with a wealth of experience as well as some new faces who will be aiming to make a big impression.

BBC Sport's Marc Woods looks at some of the Britons who will be chasing medals in Durban.

Nyree Lewis in action at the 2004 Paralympics
Lewis looks a strong candidate for a clean sweep
Nyree Lewis

Age: 26
Events: S6 400m freestyle, SB5 100m breaststroke, S6 100m backstroke, SM6 200m individual medley

A change has been as good as a rest for Lewis this year who, along with her partner Sascha Kindred, returned to coach Emma Patrick who guided the pair to success at the Sydney Paralympics.

In July Lewis, the reigning Paralympic and world champion in the S6 100m backstroke, showed her intentions by breaking her own world best by 0.84 seconds in a time of one minute 27.81 seconds.

A swim close to that mark should she see her comfortably beat her nearest challenger, Jiang of China.

Lewis will probably also prove too strong for her rivals in the S6 400m freestyle.

The bronze she won in this event in Athens seems likely to be bettered, having already ranked herself number one in the world when setting a new European record at the National Championships this year.

If it sounds like two gold medals would be a successful championships for Lewis, don't forget that she will also be racing in SB5 100m breaststroke and the SM6 200m individual medley.

Both of which she is ranked second in the world - the latter being the one event where Great Britain may achieve a clean sweep with Natalie Jones and Elizabeth Johnson in the mix as well.

Claire Cashmore in action at the 2004 Paralympics
Cashmore is eyeing more medal success in the backstroke
Claire Cashmore

Age: 18
Events: S9 50m freestyle, 100m freestyle, 100m backstroke, SB8 100m breaststroke, SM9 200m IM

The Kelly College student will be looking to build on her Athens successes, where she won a bronze medal in the S9 100m backstroke and another in the SM9 200m individual medley, both behind the South African superstar Natalie Du Toit.

Improving all of the time she broke the British record for the S9 50m freestyle in 2005 then bettered that mark again at the Paralympic World Cup earlier this year.

Despite this fabulous swim, she was once again pushed into bronze medal position.

However in Durban, under the watchful eye of coach and Olympic swimmer Robin Brew, she has a real chance of going one, if not two, better and clinching the gold in the SB8 100m breaststroke.

Sascha Kindred in action at the 2004 Paralympics
Paralympic star Kindred should shine again in Durban
Sascha Kindred

Age: 28
Events: SM6 200m individual medley, SB7 100m breaststroke, S7 50m butterfly

At the 2002 World Championships in Argentina Sascha Kindred won three gold medals.

His performance in the SM6 200m individual ,medley even earned him the title of 'Male Swimmer of the Meet'.

Add these successes to the eight medals he has won at the Paralympics and you might think there would be little room for improvement for one of Briton's most popular athletes.

Kindred obviously thinks differently and has already proved it this year with a British record in the 50m butterfly at the Paralympic World Cup in May and then, with a stunning swim at the National Championships, when he knocked 0.19 seconds off his own SB7 100m breaststroke world record with a new time of 1:22.95.

While even an under-par Kindred should still overpower the competition in the individual medley, he knows that if he is going to fend off his main rivals in the breaststroke - Nakamura of Japan and Gong of China - he will need to be on top of his game.

Eleanor Simmonds

Age: 12
Events: S6 50m freestyle, S6 100m freestyle, S6 400m freestyle, SB6 100m breaststroke

They say that 'success breeds success' and if this is true then Eleanor Simmonds can look forward to a glittering international swimming career.

The youngest member of the squad finds herself in a category in which Great Britain has an incredible depth of talent - the women's S6.

Just to make the British team she had to race against no less then four swimmers who won medals at the Athens Paralympics - Nyree Lewis, Natalie Jones, Liz Johnson and Mhairi Love.

While she will need to considerably improve her personal best times if she is to start challenging for the medals, her best ranking being seventh in the world in the S6 100m freestyle, just working along side such experienced athletes is likely to prove invaluable to her.

Matt Walker

Age: 28
Events: S7 50m freestyle, S7 100m freestyle, SB7 100m breaststroke, 34-point 4x100m freestyle relay.

Even by his own high standards 2006 has been a very good year for Matt Walker.

Already the winner of six Paralympic medals, he won a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and broke the world record in the S7 50m freestyle.

Perhaps more importantly for the cerebral palsy athlete from Stockport, these two successes meant he finally stepped out of the considerable shadow cast by his main rival David Roberts, also of Great Britain.

The two come together, along with Robert Welbourn and Graham Edmonds, for the 34-point relay on day one but the most closely contested race of the week will no doubt be the S7 50m freestyle on the final day of competition when Walker goes head-to-head with reigning Paralympic and world champion Roberts.

British swimmers chase world gold
01 Dec 06 |  Disability Sport


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