22 Dec 2017

Pascoe headlines Gold Coast aquatics team

3:23 pm on 22 December 2017

Seventeen swimmers and two divers will represent New Zealand at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast next year.

The team is headlined by Glasgow 2014 double gold medalist and nine-time Paralympic champion Sophie Pascoe.

Glasgow representatives, Corey Main, Matthew Stanley and diver Liam Stone are returning for their second Commonwealth Games.

Para sport events are integrated and contested as part of the main programme at the Commonwealth Games. Gold Coast 2018 will host the largest Para-sport programme in Commonwealth Games history.

Sophie Pascoe

Sophie Pascoe Photo: Photosport

For Pascoe, the nerves will be as present as they ever are when she stands on the starting blocks in April.

One of the more familiar faces in the 19-strong aquatics team, Pascoe has been to three Paralympic Games and three World Championships during her hugely successful career.

Despite her experience at those pinnacle events, the 24-year-old said there is no doubt she will be anxious as she prepares to add to the two gold medals she won in Glasgow.

"I get nervous and I have to get nervous. That's how I train my body to be able to perform under pressure.

"That's what I love the most. I love the fact that I've trained to have those nerves.

"That adrenaline factor is an amazing feeling, I need to use that to be able to get the best out of those couple of laps I'm doing."

Pascoe is not expecting to have it all her own way on the Gold Coast.

A Paralympic and world champion in multiple events, Pascoe is strongly favoured to add to her large collection of gold medals on.

However, 2018 will be the largest para-sports programme in Commonwealth Games history and the Cantabrian said she will arrive ready to produce her best.

"I'm expecting it to be big competition actually.

"We know the Commonwealth sector is bringing in a lot of new Paralympic athletes and that's exciting, the growth of the sport is getting bigger and bigger every year.

"This is just one stepping stone along way for another three years time in Tokyo. I'm super excited to see the competition it brings out, but I'm also going to be there ready to race."

Rio Paralympians Jesse Reynolds and Tupou Neiufi will debut in their first Commonwealth games, alongside newcomers Chris Arbuthnott and Celyn Edwards.

Twelve able bodied swimmers have earned selection including Rio Olympians Bradlee Ashby and Corey Main.

Both athletes achieved the automatic qualifying times at the world champs.

Ashby broke his own 200m individual medley national record and Main set two personal bests to make the final of the 100m backstroke.

Also selected is Australian based, sixteen-year old Laticia-Leigh Transom has had a breakout year in 2017.

In her first New Zealand international outing at the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas she won two golds (4x200m Freestyle Mixed Relay, Girls 200m Freestyle), two silvers (Girls 100m Freestyle, 4x100m Medley Mixed Relay) and a bronze medal (Girls 50m Freestyle).

Completing the team list for Gold Coast is former double junior world champion Gabrielle Fa'amausili and newcomers Carina Doyle, Daniel Hunter, Sam Perry, Georgia Marris, Bobbi Gichard and Bronagh Ryan.

Olympian Lizzie Cui will join Glasgow Commonwealth Games diver Liam Stone, competing in both the women's and men's 1m and 3m springboard respectively.