Golden girl Steph’s big night

Stephanie Slater
Stephanie Slater
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Golden girl Steph Slater revealed the Commonwealth Games fuelled her impressive seven gold medal haul medal at the IPC Swimming European Championships.

Slater, from Longridge, is to be honoured – alongside Commonwealth gold medal-winning boxer Scott Fitzgerald – with a civic reception at the Harris Museum and Art Gallery tonight.

And the 23-year-old, part of the British Gas GBR Swimming Team, told the Lancashire Evening Post that her silver medal at the Glasgow games gave her the confidence to excel at the European Championships in Eindhoven in August.

The para-swimmer said: “It is a dream come true.

“Winning at the Commonwealth Games gave me more determination and confidence and spurred me on to do well at the European event.

“I moved to the national performance centre in Manchester before the games to concentrate on my training

“Since I moved there I’ve been able to work a lot more on my technique – that has helped me to get faster and stronger.”

Slater set a new European record in Holland as she powered to victory in the S8 50m freestyle and she was overjoyed.

She said: “I was totally over the moon with the performances – I did better than I expected.

“I broke the European record, which was a great feeling.”

The decorated swimmer was a talented able-bodied athlete and was seen as a prospect for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi. But she suffered nerve damage to her branchial plexus whilst training at the Wales National Pool in Swansea and lost the use of her left arm.

And Slater revealed her success is made all the more enjoyable after bouncing back.

She said: “It makes it sweeter to win. I’m so happy to be back doing the sport – that is the best part of it.

“My next goal is to compete at the world championships in Glasgow next July. But the Olympics is my main goal – fingers crossed, I can keep improving.” Slater (left) said she is proud to be from Preston. She said: “It was a bit of a shock when I opened the letter and realised everyone in Preston had acknowledged what I’ve achieved. I’m so proud to be from Preston and tonight will be a big honour.”

n Steph Slater is part of the British Gas GBR Para-Swimming team. Steph is supporting British Gas SwimBritain, a campaign to create a healthier nation and get more people swimming more regularly. To find out more please visitswimbritain.co.uk