Scots Paralympic swimmers aim to make hard work pay off in Tokyo

Four of the GB team spoke to STV as their places were confirmed.

Scots Paralympic swimmers aim to make hard work pay off in Tokyo STV News

They’ll carry Scottish hopes to Tokyo as part of the Paralympics GB team and for four of the country’s finest, it’s the result of years of dedication in the pool.

British Swimming has named a 23-person squad to travel to Japan and the aim is to build on success in Rio at the last Olympics, and make it a summer to remember.

The new world record holder in the S12 category 100m butterfly, Stephen Clegg is looking to carry on a family dynasty in Tokyo. Sister Libby is a double medalist, brother James won Paralympic bronze.

Clegg was in Rio five years ago but says his focus was always on being a contender in Tokyo.

“I wasn’t in an amazing position to put myself as a great medal chance in Rio,” he told STV. “It was all about experience.

“So that definitely shook off a lot of nerves and gave me the experience I need to show myself as an athlete. Going into these games in Tokyo, I’m definitely the most mentally robust I’ve been.

“This year alone I’ve finally broken the record in the 100m butterfly so I’m definitely in the best physical shape I’ve been in. I’ve improved across the board in strength, endurance and in maturity in the sport as well.”

Clegg has no doubts about how special a feeling it would be to take a podium place after years of working towards the peak of the sport.

“It would be incredible,” he said. “That’s the goal for everyone who is a Paralympian.

“You just try to give your best self and performance on the day and hopefully that’s enough to bring home a medal.”

The Paralympic Games continue to inspire young athletes with disabilities. Scott Quin narrowly missed out on the team for London when he was 22. Four years later he won a silver medal in Rio.

Quin, who will compete in the S14, SB14 and SM14 events, says he’ll take the journey to Japan “one stroke at a time”.

The 30-year-old said “For me, the way I see myself is, yes I’m getting older but being such a late developer in the sport, I’m like the biggest kid.

“I love the sport so much. It’s a job at the end of the day but I can just jump in the pool and be in my own wee world and take it one stroke at a time.”

Twice a European silver medallist, for Conner Morrision it’s a first Paralympics call-up. Competing in S14, SB14, SM14, the Aberdeen University swimmer is thrilled to reach the Games.

“I’m over the moon to be a Paralympian,” he said. “It’s been my dream since I was eight years old.

“I’ve been doing this sport for fourteen years and I finally get to represent Paralympic Team GB this summer. I’m over the moon.

“It’s been hard and there’s been lots and lots of sacrifices but it’ll all be worth it when I get on those blocks in Tokyo.”

GB teammate Louis Lawlor shared his excitement. “To go to my first Paralympics at only 19 is definitely a step forward and a dream come true.

“I was at the World Championships in 2019, where I got bronze. This is should be a bigger experience.”