Official Pool Opening Crowns Two Decades of Swimming Success

10 June 2015

The University of Bath has provided a springboard to Olympic, Paralympic, World, Commonwealth and European success for a host of swimmers since being established as a high-performance training centre in the 1990s.

From Paul Palmer’s breakthrough silver medal at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games to British Swimming’s formation of a National Centre at the Sports Training Village, the University of Bath has become synonymous with excellence in the pool.

Following the official opening of the refurbished London 2012 Legacy Pool on Tuesday (June 16) by Olympic silver-medallist Michael Jamieson, we look at some of the swimmers who have made a big splash on the international stage.

Paul Palmer

Became the first athlete to win an Olympic medal while training at the University of Bath when he took 400m freestyle silver at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games, followed by 200m freestyle gold at the 1997 European Championships in Seville. He had relocated to Bath with coach Ian Turner after the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games in order to increase his chances of getting on the podium.

Mark Foster with medalsMark Foster

Also coached by Ian Turner, the five-time Olympian won two Commonwealth, six World Short-Course and 10 European Championship titles, collecting 51 international medals in total. He was also the flag bearer for Team GB at the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

Darren Mew

After moving from the Isle of Wight to train at the University of Bath in 1997, the breaststroke specialist won silver and bronze medals at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur. He went on to win further medals at the Manchester 2002 and Melbourne 2006 Games, as well as represent Team GB at the Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Olympic Games.

Sascha Kindred in the Mens 200m IM - SM6 Final. Photo: Clare Green/ParalympicsGBSascha Kindred and Nyree Lewis

Dubbed “the golden couple of Paralympic swimming”, Sascha and Nyree trained at the University ahead of the Sydney 2000 Games. They went on win seven medals between them, including gold for Sascha in the SB7 100m breaststroke and SM6 200m IM.

Matthew Walker. Photo: onEditionMatt Walker

Won a medal of each colour at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games, with his gold coming in the 4x100m freestyle relay (34pts). That success came early in an outstanding career which has seen him win medals at every Paralympics, IPC World Championship and IPC European Championship at which he has competed.

Fiona Neale

Fiona’s silver in the S8 100m backstroke meant that University of Bath-based swimmers returned from the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games with 11 medals in total.

Zoe Baker

Zoe was just 16 years old when she struck gold in the 50m breaststroke at the 2002 Commonwealth Games, having set a world record in the semi-finals. She combined training at the University of Bath with studying Sports Performance before relocating to New Zealand in 2006.

Anthony Stephens. Photo: onEdition

Anthony Stephens

At the age of 18, he won a silver medal in the S5 200m freestyle plus three bronze at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games.

Kate GreyKate Grey

Coach Education and Sport Development graduate Kate began training with head coach Mark Skimming upon starting her studies at the University of Bath in 2007. She narrowly missed out on a SB9 100m breaststroke medal at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games but won silver at the following year’s IPC World Championships, as well as 100m individual medley bronze.

Sun Yang training in Bath

Sun Yang

Five-time World Champion Sun was one of 24 Chinese swimmers who honed their preparations for the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Sports Training Village. He went on to win two gold medals at the Aquatics Centre in the 400m freestyle and 1,500m freestyle. Among the other international swimmers to train at the University of Bath ahead of the Games was Sofyan El Gadi, who was flag bearer for Libya during the London 2012 opening ceremony.

Michael Jamieson (Photo Sam Farr)Michael Jamieson

Within 12 months of moving his training base from Paris to the University of Bath, Michael had won a 200m breaststroke silver medal at the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games. The Sports Performance graduate went on to repeat that achievement on the grand stage of the London 2012 Olympic Games and at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

iz Johnson wins Bronze (Left) and Charlotte Henshaw wins Silver (Right) in final of the Womens 100m Breaststroke SB6. (Photo: Clare Green/ParalympicsGB)

Liz Johnson

After winning SB6 100m breaststroke gold at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, Liz moved to train with Mark Skimming at the University of Bath and won a bronze medal at the 2010 World Championships – a result she repeated at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Chris Walker - HebbornChris Walker-Hebborn

One of four original members of the National Training Centre established by British Swimming at the University of Bath after the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, the backstroke specialist won a 4x100m medley relay bronze medal at the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games. Chris went on to win two gold medals and a bronze at Glasgow 2014.

Stephanie Millward

Corsham swimmer Stephanie began training with Aquae Sulis Performance Swimming Club at the University of Bath in the wake of winning five medals at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. She went on to claim four gold medals at the 2013 IPC World Championships in Montreal, Canada – a feat she repeated at the 2014 IPC European Championships in Eindhoven.

Siobhan-Marie O'Connor (Photo: Sam Farr)Siobhan-Marie O’Connor

Bath teenager SIobhan has been training at the University of Bath since she was a young girl, going from club swimmer to one of the best in the world. She competed at the London 2012 Olympic Games and won six medals at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, including her first international title – gold in the 200m individual medley.

Andrew Willis

University of Bath Chemical Engineering student Andrew has been a consistent 200m breaststroke finalist at major competitions in recent years. He was the fastest English swimmer at the London 2012 Olympic Games and won a bronze medal behind training partner Michael Jamieson at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

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