Jack Bridge and Matthew Wylie will be looking to make an impact at the National Para-Swimming Championships this weekend.
The event, held at Manchester Aquatics Centre, is open to S1-S15 swimmers with a National or International classification and the event will form part of British Para-Swimming’s ‘Road to Rio’.
The Sunderland swimmers will not be accompanied by Josef Craig, who has been ruled out of the competition due to a shoulder injury, but the pair remain positive that they will receive the full support of their injured team mate and put in some good performances.
Bridge, an S10 swimmer with nine British records is eager to step on the blocks rested after a trying year, which saw him undergo surgery around the cartilage of his ankle in April.
“Me and Matt are both resting for this meet and for me it’s the first time I’ve been rested since my operation,” says Bridge.
“So the main objective of the meet is to race fast and post great times early on in the season to kick off the Road to Rio.
“It’s obviously sad not to have Josef with us because we know the importance of the meet, but we also have the bigger picture in mind which is getting ourselves ready for trials at the end of April.”
The Para-Swimming International meet held next April will be a vital competition on the Road to the Paralympic Games and will be the only selection meet for British Para-Swimmers to qualify for the 2016 Paralympics.
Wylie, an S9 swimmer with seven British records will be going to the meet with a change of emphasis, which will see him move to the shorter events – 50 and 100 metres freestyle – instead of the 400 metres freestyle.
Commenting on the meet he said: “After changing my training in September I have been focusing a lot more on sprint work which I think has made a difference.
“It will be interesting to see what sort of times I can post at this meet, as at the end of last season I posted a time that would have won gold at World Championships in Glasgow.”
If the pair can kick off their season well, it will give them headway in the lead up to the Paralympics.
Racing begins tomorrow at Manchester Aquatics centre and ends on Sunday evening.