'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!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Olympic/Paralympic Trials April 2008

With the Paralympics only 5 months away now the trials have begun, our first trials were incorporated with the Olympic trials where we swam with the likes of Liam Tancock, Gregor Tait who were also trying to qualify.

This was going to prove to be a long week and felt we could both qualify here and therefore take the pressure off when we go into the Disability International (paralympic trials 2).

Day 1

Nyree – today was the 400freestyle an event where I did a personal best of 5.50 only 3 months ago so I knew I was on target for another good swim. I went out in world record split at 200metres and went on to break the world record in time of 5.48.71. but this only gave me second place as a young Eleanor Simmonds went 5.48.26 to also break the world record.

Day 2

Sascha – 100breaststroke I haven’t felt confident on my breast for the past 9 months so was not looking forward to this race. I went 1.25.96 in the heat and 1.26.03 in the final which scraped me under the qualifying time which I would normally have done in my sleep. It still managed to win me gold in the Multi disability event but I am not pleased with my time.

Nyree – 100 breaststroke, normally an event I don’t usually like to swim, my heat swim was solid and a time I have not done for a while.. The final was much better being 1.50.10 which is best I have swum since 2004. After finishing 5th at the World Championships this puts me back into 2nd place on the rankings.

Day 3

Sascha – 50m butterfly – this was the first day where I tried out the new Speedo LZR Racer a swimming suit which has been designed by Speedo and helped by NASA. I knew my training had been going well in all my strokes besides breaststroke so I was feeling confident. I managed to stop the clock on 32.49 which set a new European Record and ranks me 2nd in the World behind Li Peng of China on 32.37. I now have an opportunity of racing for 3 gold medals in Beijing.

Day 4

Nyree – 100m Backstroke – This being my main event always seems to put more pressure on for me to perform. In the heat I swam a good time of 1.28.9 being 1 second outside my world record despite the fact it felt dreadful. So I knew going into the final I should be able to go quicker. In the final I tried out the new LZR Racer suit with a zip back which I normally never wear but glad I did as I broke my own world record to go 1.26.90. This certainly gives me confidence for the games.

Day 5

Sascha - 50m freestyle – well my sprint swims seem to be going well and I knew going into this I knew I couldn’t let my freestyle be slower than my fly. I managed to swim 32.18 in the heat and smash the british record with the first person in my class to be under 33 seconds. I also qualified for the final which I normaly never do on 50freestyle at multi disability events. In the final I stepped up again and swam 32.11 to set my 2nd british record of the day.

Day 6

Sascha – 200IM – Well now I feel this is my No.1 event and I had to put all my good sprint swims together to make a good 200. In the heat I put pressure on myself to swim strong but also conserve a little energy for the final. I swam 2.46.10 knocking 0.10 off my previous world record and felt strong enough to go faster in the final. Lining up the final I felt really confident that it was time to take a big chunk off my PB. I went out hard and held on throughout the swim stopping the clock at 2.43.09 knocking 3 seconds off my previous world record. I felt this was my best swim of the meet and know that my training is on the right track towards Beijing.

Nyree – 200IM – this event was going to prove to be very intense, with only 3 places on the Beijing team and 4 class S6 swimmers someone will be missing out come September. In the heat I went 3.22.9 which is 2 seconds slower than my best, however it was the final that proved to be a race to watch. With Natalie and Liz one end of the pool and myself and Eleanor simmonds the other end we knew we had to be fast. It was a nerve racking swim to do and for my coach to watch but with Natalie touching in 3.17.50, Eleanor 3.19.19 and myself 3.19.79 ( a 1 second pb) it meant liz Johnson in 3.20.48 being the 4th swimmer. Unfortunately we will not be sure the outcome of this race until after next trials as everyone knows anything can happen.

Overall Sascha hit 3 qualifying times for Beijing and Nyree hit 4. Throughout the meet 18 girls and 15 boys hit qualifying standards and have put their names on the nominated list for Beijing. Note that the qualifying times are based on 3rd in the World so they are very tough and everyone who has qualified are potential medallists.

However the official team will be announced after our second trials at the end of this month. So watch this space.

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