Plymouth Leander’s Stephens ready to test herself on the world stage


StephensPLYMOUTH Leander’s Laura Stephens will begin her FINA World Short Course Championship campaign on Wednesday in Canada.

Teenager Stephens is one of just 16 swimmers selected by Great Britain for the 25m competition in Windsor.

The Plymouth College pupil, who made her name at senior level in the summer at the European Championships, will compete in 100m and 200m butterfly events in Canada.

Her first individual race will be the 200m on Wednesday. Stephens is ranked 13th of the entries in that discipline, just behind Great Britain team-mate Hannah Miley.

Stephens’ 100m butterfly heat will be on Saturday. She is ranked 22nd in that event.

The Plymouth-based swimmer, who has competed on the world stage at junior level, could also feature for Great Britain in the medley relay.

Stephens is one of a number of young swimmers GB hope will be pushing for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

British officials are hoping Stephens and other young athletes will use the World Short Course Championships as experience.

GB head coach Bill Furniss said: “It’s predominantly a young team with one or two established seniors but most swimmers will be in Windsor to learn from the experience as they focus on their journey to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

“For the younger athletes they will get the chance to compete on the world stage for what could be their first time and the main purpose is their exposure and experience of the environment and to learn from it.

“It’s very much a stepping stone and a good start to the four-year cycle to Tokyo.

“It’s a short course event so starts, turns and finishes are going to be important and this will be the focus for us.

“We will learn about the specific areas that each athlete needs to work on going forward. This meet will highlight areas for improvement as we continue to develop this group of young talent.”

Stephens recently attended a three-week GB altitude training camp in Arizona.


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