Search

Bird flying in the pool

PUBLISHED: 08:00 05 September 2008 | UPDATED: 21:12 05 July 2010

Super swimmer Stephanie Bird.

Super swimmer Stephanie Bird.

Mark Boggis

TALENTED teenager Stephanie Bird has taken on and beaten some of the best swimmers in Europe.

Competing in the fourth Inas-Fid open European Swimming Championships in Poland for people with learning disabilities, Lowestoft and Waveney's most successful disability swimmer was in fine form.

TALENTED teenager Stephanie Bird has taken on and beaten some of the best swimmers in Europe.

Competing in the fourth Inas-Fid open European Swimming Championships in Poland for people with learning disabilities, Lowestoft and Waveney's most successful disability swimmer was in fine form.

It proved to be a golden games for the delighted youngster who not only stunned her Great Britain coaches with a total of one gold, four silver and one bronze medal, but she also became the number one 50m butterfly champion.

There was also more delight, as Team GB were crowned European Champions for the second time as they collected 21 golds, 16 silver and five bronze medals during the championships that were held in Ostrowiec.

With the open championships offering an invite to other countries in the world - including Hong Kong and South Africa - the only leading team not entered were the Australians.

The competition started with Bird producing a “superb” 50m free, according to proud father Kim, as she qualified second fastest out of 23 swimmers to reach the final in a personal best time of 31:24.

This final was swum even quicker with Bird producing an amazing swim of 30:77, and the European silver medal as she was just touched out for the title by the Dutch swimmer's time of 30:56.

She also reached the 100m fly final after securing another personal best time, but just missed out on the medals.

But the highlight of her meeting was to come in the 50m fly final which proved to be a “destruction of the world,” according to Mr Bird.

“Six out of the swimmers were in the world finals last year, where Steph finished in fifth that was won by an Australian swimmer,” he said. “From the dive Steph was half a metre up on her main competitors, who included the current Spanish European champion and the bronze and silver world champions, and she never lost her lead as she finished in a lifetime PB of 33:55 - beating the others by an amazing one and a half seconds!”

Bird also qualified for the 100m breaststroke final after qualifying with another personal best time as she finished fourth fastest. In the final she produced a PB and well-deserved bronze medal in a time of 1.35:78 - her first major medal at this distance outside of Britain.

On her third day, she completed a PB of 1.32:42 in the 100m backstroke to secure a silver medal, finished in fifth with a PB of 42:03 in the 50m breastroke and then finished an “excellent” fourth in the 400m freestyle.

On the last day of competition, Bird qualified for the finals comfortably in the 50m backstroke - where she was the reigning European champion - and 100m freestyle.

An amazing championships then ended in more medal joy, as Bird produced an outstanding personal best swim of 1.10:13 in the 100m freestyle to take the silver medal.

Having been training hard with Lowestoft and Oulton Broad head coach Simon Pickering and the performance two squad, under the guidance of Brian Rivett, as well as coaching with the Tri Masters under the instruction of Neil Godbold, Stephanie would like to thank Lowestoft and Oulton Broad Swimming Club, her coaches, family and friends for all their support.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Lowestoft Journal

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists