Cambs swimmer Steadman gets gold at Sheffield

SAWTRY swimmer Lauren Steadman has her sights firmly set on the European Championships in Berlin next July

SAWTRY swimmer Lauren Steadman has her sights set on the European Championships in Berlin next July after winning three medals – including a gold – at the Disability Sport England Short Course National Championships in Sheffield.

The 17-year-old Beijing Paralympian, pictured, took the 400m freestyle gold medal in 4:59:15, just a second outside her personal best.

She was also only half-a-second away from her personal best in the 200m individual event in which she finished in the bronze medal position.

Steadman’s third medal was also a bronze, which she won in the 100m freestyle.

Although she finished outside the medals in other events, Steadman had excellent swims in three more races, setting new personal bests in both the 100m individual medley, finishing fourth, and was fifth in the 100m breaststroke.

There was also a fourth place finish for Steadman in the 50m freestyle.

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Steadman, who is part of the Devon-based Kelly College squad, which earned 15 medals at the event, said: “It was a successful meet overall. I wasn’t expecting to get a personal best, so to get gold and two bronze medals with two personal bests from my six races has been very pleasing.”

She had prepared for the Sheffield event at the Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence Training Camp at the Coral Bay resort in Cyprus.

On day one of the training, Steadman was moved up out of the disability lane to train with the able-bodied swimmers under the coach Paul Hogg.

“The week was really beneficial for me and helped to boost my aerobic fitness,” Steadman said. “It was an extremely tough week of training, which involved one session of 7,000m of swimming followed by some gym work.”

The hard work did not go unnoticed, as Steadman was named the camp’s female swimmer of the week.

Steadman is now looking forward to the European Championships trials that take place in Manchester in March 2011 with the championships in Berlin, Germany, in July.

Before the end of the year she will have a further chance to hone her talents at the Welsh long course meet in Swansea.