South East Playground to Podium (Hannah Russell)


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Hannah is visually impaired athlete, classification: S12 and part of the South of England Schools team.  She was identified at the Surrey County Athlete Assessment Day in July 2010 as having huge potential in swimming.  She is already part of Guildford City Swimming Club.

Project aims and achievements

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Her recorded personal bests will allow for her to achieve World Class Development Programmes times in 2011.  Having only just received her classification in the autumn she has not been able to compete in a qualifying disability competition to date but has already entered future events.

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“Hannah has strong potential to qualify for 2012 or 2016 Paralympics.”

Kirstie Jackson, Regional Development Coach - Disability Swimming

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Outcomes and impact

Key achievements

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  • Swimming in the relay at the British age group nationals in 2009
  • Swimming the 50 metre freestyle in under 30 seconds
  • Winning a silver medal at the UK school championships in Sunderland 2010
  • Selected for the Senior IPC European Championships in Berlin after dazzling the selectors at the British Championships.
  • In 2012, she smashed two world records in the 400m freestyle and 100m Backstroke.

Next steps

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Hannah has been confirmed as part of Team GB for the 2012 Paralympics.

Personal experience

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How did you first get involved in your sport?

“My parents taught me to swim when I was four and then I joined a local swimming club in Woking.”

What does a typical week look like for you hours training /School?

“I go to school at Gordon’s and am in year 10 (The first year of my GCSE’s), outside of my time at school I swim approximately 16 hours per week at the surrey sports park (SSP) in Guildford.”

Who is your sporting hero and why?

“Rebecca Addlington – To win an Olympic gold medal you need to give up your life to do all of the training."

Final thought

“Thank you so much for the funding to help me in my swimming. The funding will be used to - pay for my swimming fees at Guildford City swimming club, pay for travel and other expenses when competing at events and pay for some new equipment like swimsuits and goggles.”  Hannah Russell

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Jessica Cook, National Sports Development Manager, English Federation Disability Sport

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