'The Golden Couple'

Sascha Kindred and Nyree Lewis, otherwise known as the 'golden couple' of disabled sport, are two of Great Britain's most successful paralympians of the last decade, amassing 20 Paralympic medals between them including an amazing 8 golds. I am the brother of Sascha and am tracking their progress from Athens 2004 to London 2012. Read about their journey to Paralympic Glory here!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Understanding Classifications

Unsure how people with different disabilities can swim against one another? Well don't be. It's actually quite simple and i've put together some basic information below which should help make it easier to understand the classifications of disabled athletes in swimming.

Swimming Classification

The classification process, co-ordinated by the
ASA, entails the assessment of a swimmer's functional mobility by IPC Swimming trained classifiers. The process involves a bench test and water test and takes no more than one hour. This type of classification also enables the identification of stroke exemptions applicable to an individual swimmer.

Swimming is the only sport that combines the conditions of limb loss, cerebral palsy (coordination and movement restrictions), spinal cord injury (weakness or paralysis involving any combination of the limbs) and other disabilities (such as Dwarfism (little people); major joint restriction conditions) across classes.
  • Classes 1-10 – are allocated to swimmers with a physical disability
  • Classes 11-13 – are allocated to swimmers with a visual disability
  • Class 14 – is allocated to swimmers with an intellectual disability

The Prefix S to the Class denotes the class for Freestyle, Backstroke and Butterfly
The Prefix SB to the class denotes the class for Breaststroke
The Prefix SM to the class denotes the class for Individual Medley.

The range is from the swimmers with severe disability (S1, SB1, SM1) to those with the minimal disability (S10, SB9, SM10).

In any one class some swimmers may start with a dive or in the water depending on their condition. This is factored in when classifying the athlete.

The examples are only a guide - some conditions not mentioned may also fit the following classes.

Full breakdown of classifications (http://www.sportcentric.com/vmgmt/vfilemgmt/page/filedownload/1,8202,5026-49221-97732-0-file,00.pdf)

Sascha

S6 (Freestyle, Backstroke and Butterfly)
SB7 (Breaststroke)
SM6 (Individual Medley)

Nyree

S6 (Freestyle, Backstroke and Butterfly)
SB5 (Breastsroke)
SM6 (Individual Medley)

Sascha and Nyree have very similar classifications as they both have cerebral palsy which affects two limbs on their body, Sascha with his right arm and right leg, and Nyree with both her legs. The only different is when you compare the breaststroke classification in which Sascha has a higher classification as he has more power in his legs, and breaststroke is a stroke in which much of the power comes from the legs.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Nyree on the Paralympic World Cup

"Being at the world cup as a spectator was quite strange although I guess it was nice to see it from another point of view for once. One thing I immediately experienced was how hot and stuff it was up in the stands watching and I understand a bit more what our family and supporters often experience when they come to watch us. It was quite uncomfortable at times and different to when we are racing as the water cools us down somewhat.

To watch 'Sash' and the rest of the team race from high up was pretty good as I got to see the race much more clearly and was able to forget some of the stresses that I usually have when I am racing, for example, when I need to go to the call up room, whether I've been drinking and eating enough, etc.

Anyway, to see Sash win an event that, well, he wasnt exactly one of the favourites for was superb, especially as I was just hoping he could do as well as he did at the British Nationals 4 weeks earlier. Then, to see him do another personal best was magical, as well as a bit of a shock also, and I was very very proud of him. It just shows how much work he has been doing recently in the Individual Medley which he has also been improving in. It all filters through and I guess it shows you how much work you have to do in training to be able to reep the rewards when you race.

We now have 2 and half years to Beijing which we are already training for and things seem to be going well."

Monday, May 08, 2006

Sascha on the Paralympic World Cup

Being Sascha's twin, I managed to get 10 minutes of time within his hectic schedule to speak about the World Cup. Here's his reaction to Saturday's impressive swim...

'WOW', going into this years world cup i was dissapionted that i didn't have the chance to defend my 100m breaststroke title as the race was not chosen this year. However, I was instead invited to swim the 50m fly as 1 was ranked 6th in the world and the top 8 in the world were to compete.

Going into the event I knew it would be tougth to win a medal against Igor Plotnikov the World Record holder and the Paralympic Silver medalist Daniel Vidal. I had nothing to lose and gave the race everything from the start.

Daniel was on my left and as i breath to that side I could see him throughout the race. With 15m to go i was still with him and knew I had a strong finish so put my head down and went for the wall. I spotted the finish perfectly and clocked 33.02 seconds, a new British Record. I was also shocked to see I had won with Daniel second and Igor down in 4th. I was the new world number 1 in a race I have never excelled in.

I will now add this race to my repitour and swim it at the Worlds later this year providing I qualify in july. I would say this topped last years victory in the 100m Breaststroke as iwas a rank outsider but triumphed.

This is up there with one of my best races over the last few years. Bring on bejing 2008!!!


If you want to post a question to Sascha or Nyree, email thegoldencouple@hotmail.com.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

In the News - 6th May 2006

Sascha breaks own British Record to win in Manchester

Yesterday saw the build up to the 2nd Visa Paralympic World Cup come to a spectacular end with Sascha Kindred beating the favourites and his own British Record in a high quality field for the S6 50m Butterfly event.

Having broken the British record only 4 weeks earlier and moving up the rankings to third in the World, Sascha entered the event in superb form, but with the World record holder also in the race, he was always knowledgable that he'd have to pull something special out of the bag to win.

Sascha was drawn in an outside lane and started off well but was pressed to keep up with the flying start by Xu of China and the world record holder Igor. But as the field began to tire, and with his rivals in his sight, Sascha's stamina showed as he stormed ahead to finish in a time of 33.02 seconds, beating his previous best by 0.7 seconds.

Sascha was clearly over the moon and said, "I've worked very hard on my butterfly over the past two years and I'm finally reaping the rewards and hopefully it will help me in my medley racing."

"This is probably my number three event and I finished sixth in Athens so this is a huge boost for me ahead of the World Championships in South Africa later this year."

There was also other success for the pool for Sascha's fellow brits including:

Gold: Andrew Lindsay, Matt Walker, Jim Anderson
Silver: Natalie Jones, James Crisp
Bronze: Anthony Stephens, Claire Cashmore

To read more on the BBC's disability sport site, visit:


http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/other_sports/disability_sport/default.stm.

Sascha's response to his impressive swim will be posted shortly.