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GB boss Chris Furber wants risk-taking

August 12, 2013
Chris Furber

Chris Furber

New British Swimming Paralympic performance director Chris Furber says he wants his team to “experiment” at this week’s IPC World Championships.

The 32-strong squad in Montreal includes London 2012 champions Ellie Simmonds, Jonathan Fox and Ollie Hynd.

Teenagers Jessica-Jane Applegate and Josef Craig will also be hoping to add world titles to their Paralympic golds.

“It is important for us to learn things now which we can apply as we get towards Rio in 2016,” Furber said.

He also told BBC Sport: “One of my priorities is to go out to Montreal and learn and also not be afraid to fail.

“I want the team and the coaches to experiment and try new things and answer those questions now so it’s not in our minds closer to the Games.

“We have to push the boundaries and train smart and we need to experiment.”

Before opting to switch sports earlier this year, Furber was lead coach for the British Paralympic cycling team which topped the medal table in Beijing and London.

 He joins a swimming programme which came away from the London Paralympics with 39 medals, including seven golds, but has since seen a number of retirements.

The squad will face a challenging time from the likes of the United States, Australia, Russia, Ukraine and China over the seven days of competition, which start on Monday and will feature around 500 competitors from 60 countries.

The GB medal target from UK Sport is between 30 and 40 and Furber is relishing the opportunities it presents.

“The team is looking in good shape but the post-Games year in all sports gives some unique challenges,” he added.

“It will be an interesting competition to see where the other nations are and see who is there and who is missing.

“Since London there have been retirements in the GB squad but the performance pathway has left us in really good shape so we are seeing a lot of youngsters coming through.

 “I’ve been really pleased with how the squad integrates with some experienced people like Sascha Kindred, Matt Walker and Claire Cashmore and the younger ones making their debuts like Tully Kearney, Stephanie Slater and Jack Thomas.”

Kindred will be competing in his seventh major World Championships , having made his debut in Malta in 1994 while Walker will be at his sixth Worlds.

Slater, a former able-bodied swimmer, will be hoping to make an impact in her first major international competition.

The 22-year-old, who had been training for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, suffered nerve damage which has left her without the use of her left arm. But she returned to the pool late last year and has set a European record in the S8 butterfly event.

Another hoping to shine for GB is Amy Marren, who missed out on a medal in London but since then has set a European record in the 200m individual medley and will be hoping to bring that form to Canada.

But double 2012 gold medallist Ellie Simmonds, who admitted to motivational struggles after her success in London , is one of those who will be taking risks in Canada.

As well as her usual freestyle and medley events, the 17-year-old will also be competing in the 100m breaststroke and 100m backstroke in a packed programme which will see her race on six of the seven days of competition.

 “It would be unrealistic of us to expect Ellie to perform at her best year after year,” said Furber. “She had a lot of pressure and expectation on her ahead of the [Paralympic] Games but she is on a good pathway.

“She is not where she was at the Games and I don’t expect her to be but what I do expect her to do is to show improvement and I expect her to be thinking about doing the things now that will help in Rio.”

GB squads

Men: Jack Bridge, James Clegg, Josef Craig, James Crisp, Jonathan Fox, James Hollis, Oliver Hynd, Sam Hynd, Sascha Kindred, Aaron Moores, Andrew Mullen, James O’Shea, Daniel Pepper, Morgyn Peters, Ben Procter, Scott Quin, Jack Thomas, Matt Walker, Rob Welbourn.

Women: Jessica-Jane Applegate, Claire Cashmore, Chloe Davies, Charlotte Henshaw, Tully Kearney, Harriet Lee, Nicole Lough, Amy Marren, Stephanie Millward, Susie Rodgers, Hannah Russell, Eleanor Simmonds, Stephanie Slater


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