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Bailey ready for the pool challenge

21 June 2002

England's 13-time Paralympic medallist Sarah Bailey is confident of adding to her medal tally at Manchester 2002.

Sarah Bailey

Sarah Bailey anticipates keen competition at Manchester 2002

Bailey's coach Colin Hood asserted that swimmer, who is an Elite Athlete with a Disability (EAD), has high hopes for Manchester 2002.

“In training terms, she is in good shape,” said Hood at the Manchester Aquatics Centre. “She did well to make the team. She broke the British record in the trials and we’ll be looking for her to swim faster than that. If she can do that she’s going to shake up the medals.”

The Manchester Commonwealth Games are significant as the first major international multi-sports event to integrate Elite Athletes with Disabilities into its programme, with medals counting towards each country’s final medals tally.

In swimming, there are four EAD events – 50 and 100 metres freestyle for both men and women.

Bailey, aged 24, is from nearby Stockport and trains in Manchester. She was made an MBE in 1998 for her services to disability sport. She has swum at the Paralympic Games in Barcelona in 1992, Atlanta in 1996 and at Sydney in 2000.

Hood says she actually swam two per cent faster in training earlier this month than she did in the England team trials.

Hood doesn’t expect it to be easy, however. “It’s going to be difficult because she is not swimming her main events,” he said. “Later this year in the World Championships she is swimming backstroke and 200m freestyle. But here it will be like Linford Christie running 400m.”

Training with the England swim squad in Loughborough, Bailey will arrive in Manchester on 25 July.

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