Paralympic Torch to light up the Wales National Pool

As the Olympic flame dies down Swansea University will be reigniting its sparkle of support for Team GB as the Paralympic torch lights up the Wales National Pool.

Swansea is playing host to a special visit by the Paralympics torch on Tuesday 28 August ahead of the start of the Paralympic Games. The torch will be at the National Pool between 3.00 – 3.30pm.

The torch relay will give the city the opportunity to recognise and support the spirit and enthusiasm of the athletes from Swansea who will be participating in the Games between 29 August – 6 September.  

On the home front Swansea University is very proud that three of its students, Gemma Almond, David Smith and Matt Whorwood will be representing Great Britain in the Olympic swimming pool and on the Boccia Court.

Gemma, from Shrewsbury, is currently studying History at Swansea. She began swimming seriously at the age of four after hydrotherapy following an operation. She trains in Swansea and is coached by Billy Pye.

Gemma said: “I'm really excited to be going to my first Paralympic games particularly because it is a UK event and a once in a lifetime opportunity in front of a home crowd where all my family will be able to be present. I'm looking forward to the experience having trained for over ten years. I moved to Swansea last September for university and have had the chance to train in a high performance centre environment, and it is great to have seen all the hard work pay off.”

David Smith, who is studying Aerospace Engineering, is representing Great Britain in Boccia. Aged 14, he became the youngest ever player to secure the title of British Champion and he was crowned World Champion at the age of 18. He is currently ranked as the world no. 2 and was part of the gold medal winning BC1/BC2 Team at his first Paralympic Games in Beijing 2008.

David said: "I am happy to have been selected for the London 2012 Paralympic Games but my job is only just about to begin and I hope when the job is done I can look back and say: "I did my best!"

Matt Whorwood is studying for a degree in Mechanical Engineering at Swansea University. He first learnt to swim as a child on the beaches of Newquay. He made his debut representing Great Britain in 2006, and won two bronze medals at the Beijing Olympics.

Matt said: "On the scoreboard at my training centre, Wales National Pool Swansea, has been a countdown to the Olympic Games and you can certainly see how months turn to weeks, weeks turn to days and days turn to hours. I received my kit which made the whole thing begin to feel very real indeed. I am very much looking forward to wearing it proud alongside my fellow athletes and team staff in August.

Swansea University will also be supporting alumni Liz Johnson (Swimming) and James Roberts (Sitting Volleyball), who will also be competing in London.

Swansea has some of the best sporting facilities in the UK. The Wales National Pool, regional athletics track and top class artificial training pitches, along with the range of facilities at the LC, provided a great training base for the Paralympians from New Zealand and Mexico.

Swansea University was delighted to host the Mexican Paralympic squad at its campus and along with the New Zealand and Mexican teams were delighted with the facilities they were offered at the pool and on the University track.