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Gold and silver medals – and a European swimming record for Harriet

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Former Long Road student, Harriet Lee not only won gold and silver medals at the International Paralympic Committee World Swimming Championships in Holland in August but smashed the British and European record time for the SB9* 100m Breaststroke.

Harriet has been swimming since she was eight and is a member of the Mid Beds Swim Squad.However, it was only in December 2009 that she received the classification for participation in Paralympic swimming.

“A couple of years ago I was diagnosed with Beckwith-Wiedermann Syndrome, which is an overgrowth disorder. It’s quite rare and there’s not much known about it, so I had to wait a long time for a diagnosis for it,” she says.

“I started training in January after getting the classification,” she says. “I had to work very hard to get fit for the World Swimming Championship trials in March as I was ill last year.”

Harriet’s outstanding success at the 2010 British Gas Swimming Championships guaranteed her place in the SB9 100m breaststroke, the 200m Individual Medley and the 34-point medley relay squad.

“I came 9th in the Individual Medley, and this was a great boost to my confidence. I was delighted to win the gold in the 100m Breaststroke in 1:19.86. We then went on to win the silver in the relay, so it was a great day for us all.

“To come away with a world gold and silver was a life-changing experience.”

Harriet’s next venue will be the European Championships in Berlin next year, with the London Paralympics also in her sights.

*SB denotes the classification used for Breaststroke swimmers with a physical disability, on a scale of 1-9 where 1 is the highest degree of disability and 9 the lowest.

This photograph of Harriet was taken by former Photography student Bethany Cragg.