Simmonds, who is the youngest member of the squad, is joined by other Paralympic debutants, including 14-year-old Elizabeth Simpkin, 19-year-old Kate Grey (Bristol/ Bath), 18-year-old Rachael Latham (Wigan) and 15-year-old Louise Watkin.
Paralympic champions Dave Roberts (Cardiff), Sascha Kindred (Hereford), Nyree Lewis (Hereford), Natalie Jones (Manchester) and Gareth Duke (Cwmbran) have also been selected for the Beijing Games with the goal of defending their titles and adding to their personal medal hauls. (For a full list of selected athletes please see below).
British Swimming National Performance Director Tim Reddish said: “The team has a good mix of youth and experience, with 45 per cent of the team attending their first Paralympic Games. This is really pleasing because it will prove to be beneficial for all of our athletes, coaches and support staff,” Reddish said. “The average age of this squad is younger than the one that competed in Athens and this demonstrates that the systems and programmes that British Swimming have in place are working well.
“It’s pleasing to see that a number of records have fallen during the past two competitions. The priority is to break British records because this shows that as a nation we are improving but to see European and world records tumbling is a good indicator of where we are on the world stage.
“Our athletes and their coaches now need to focus upon their preparations for Beijing to continue improving and if they succeed in this I can see them being able to get in the hunt for medals at the Beijing Paralympic Games.”
ParalympicsGB Chief Executive Phil Lane, said: “Swimming has traditionally been one of the most successful Paralympic sports in terms of medals at previous Games. We are delighted to confirm a squad of 36 athletes who we hope will continue this success in Beijing.
“The number of emerging youngsters selected for their first Paralympic Games is testament to how successfully British Swimming nurture and develop new talent but its also exciting to see so many established Paralympians returning to the ParalympicsGB squad to defend the titles won in Athens.”
World championship medallist Louise Watkin said: “I am overjoyed to have been selected for my first Paralympic Games. It really has made all of the hard-work worthwhile. It looks like it will be a really exciting event.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge of competing at the Paralympics, I know it will be like nothing I have ever been to before but I think I will be able to stay focused and do the best that I can.”
Paralympic champion Sascha Kindred said: “I am very excited to be selected for my fourth Paralympic Games. I think the experience I have gained from the previous Games will help this year. My first Games in Atlanta was a real shock and I didn’t know how to prepare myself for competition but now I know how to stay focused on the task in hand.
“The team has a great mix of young athletes and more experienced ones, I am looking forward to being able to pass on my knowledge and experience to the younger athletes and I think that will really benefit them. The great thing about the British Swimming team is that we have a really good team atmosphere and we all support each other.”
The Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games opens on September 6 and closes on September 17. The swimming events at the Games take place at the National Aquatics Centre, also known as the Water Cube, from September 7 to 15.
Many of these swimmers are currently competing in the Paralympic World Cup in Manchester, which should provide them with the perfect preparation ahead of China.
At the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games, Britain finished second in the medal table with a total of 35 golds, 30 silver and 29 bronze medals. With competitive standards continually rising and the dominant Chinese team taking the home advantage ParalympicsGB recognises that the 2008 Paralympics will be one of its biggest challenges yet.
Name Born Lives Place of birth
James Anderson 14/04/1963 Broxburn St Andrews
Claire Cashmore 21/05/1988 Kidderminster/ Devon Kidderminster
Emma Cattle 10/04/1988 Harlington, Beds Luton
Jenny Coughlin 09/11/1983 Swansea St Helens
James Crisp 11/10/1982 Nottingham Nottingham
Gareth Duke 18/06/1986 Cwmbran Cwbran
Graham Edmunds 22/10/1982 Swansea Reading
David Ellis 12/07/1986 Heanor, Derbyshire Nottingham
Jonathan Fox 30/05/1991 St Austell, Corwall Plymouth
Sean Fraser 30/04/1990 Loanhead, Midlothian Edinburgh
Heather Frederiksen 30/12/1985 Leigh, Lancashire Billinge
Kate Grey 25/01/1989 Thornbury, Bristol/ Bath Bristol
Rhiannon Henry 20/05/1987 Bridgend Bridgend
Charlotte Henshaw 16/01/1987 Mansfield, Notts Mansfield
Sam Hynd 03/07/1991 Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Sutton-in-Ashfield
Elizabeth Johnson 03/12/1985 Swansea Newport
Natalie Jones 31/10/1984 Manchester Colchester
Sascha Kindred 13/12/1977 Hereford Munster, Ger
Dervis Konuralp 27/09/1980 Hackney, London London
Rachael Latham 13/08/1989 Wigan Billinge
Nyree Lewis 21/09/1980 Hereford Rhonda Valley
Andrew Lindsay 25/10/1979 Cowdenbeath Dumfermline
Mhairi Love 05/05/1981 Larkhill, Lanarkshire Lanarkshire
Simon Miller 10/06/1986 Manchester Shoreham
Stephanie Millward 20/09/1981 Chippenham, Wilts Saudi Arabia
David Roberts 11/05/1980 Cardiff Pontypridd
Eleanor Simmonds 11/11/1994 Swansea Walsall
Elizabeth Simpkin 11/08/1994 Southport, Lancs Southport
Lauren Steadman 18/12/1992 Huntingdon, Cambs Peterborough
Anthony Stephens 09/07/1986 Swansea Reading
Matthew Walker 25/04/1978 Stockport Stockport
Louise Watkin 13/08/1992 Redhill, Surrey Stockholm
Danielle Watts 13/10/1980 Denton, Oxon Oxford
Robert Welbourn 11/06/1987 Swansea Chesterfield
Matthew Whorwood 07/12/1989 Newquay Truro
Fran Williamson 16/06/1985 Cambridge Sunderland
– but the sailors praise the new boats
Photo Credit: Dario Belingheri/Bettini Photo
photo David Cannon/Getty images