Louth para-swimmer Harvey Phillips scorches to hat-trick of national titles

Harvey proudly shows off his national medal haul EMN-170629-174935002
Harvey proudly shows off his national medal haul EMN-170629-174935002

Champion para-swimmer Harvey Phillips was in blistering form as he set a massive 18-second personal best on his way to landing three national titles.

The 12-year-old also added two silver medals to a golden double at the National Junior Para-Swimming Championships, held at Sunderland Aquatic Centre.

Having won two national titles last year, the latest achievements have enhanced Harvey’s ultimate ambition of one day flying the flag for Britain at the Paralympics.

“Harvey’s dreams are to compete in the Paralympics for Team GB and to win gold medals; that’s his main goal in life at the moment,” said dad Darren.

Para-swimming uses a classification system, set out by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), to ensure a level playing field for competitors.

The IPC’s current para-swimming classification uses classes S1 to S10 for different levels of physical impairment, with a lower number indicating a more severe impairment.

Harvey became a quadruple amputee after being struck down by meningitis before his first birthday.

He swims with both legs amputated at the knees, his right arm below the elbow and without the fingers on his left hand.

His coach at Louth Swimming Club, Sarah Richardson, added: “Harvey is a real inspiration to us all and to any person wishing to get into sport.

“He is a pleasure to coach and always brings a smile to the faces of all who come into contact with him.

“We at Louth Swimming Club are so very proud of what Harvey has achieved so far and wish him all the very best for his future swimming ambitions.”

Harvey began his weekend with a three-second PB in his 100m freestyle event, for which he is classified as S4, to win his first gold medal.

As the only swimmer in his SB3 classification for the 50m breaststroke, Harvey had to swim the race alone, which only adds to the difficulty of the swim.

Having to beat his entry time to earn a medal, Harvey missed out by just eight-hundredths of a second on his previous best time, leaving him as a national champion without a medal.

In the afternoon, he gained a 0.7-second PB in the 50m freestyle (S4), but had to settle for silver when he was pipped for first place.

The Louth swimmer then faced his most gruelling event in the very last race of Saturday, the 150m individual medley, consisting of 50m each of backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle.

Classified as SM4, he produced a phenomenal performance, leading from start to finish to win a third title and smash his previous best by a mammoth margin of 18 seconds.

Sunday brought his final event of the competition, the 50m backstroke (S4).

It is a tricky stroke for Harvey, but he out-performed his previous best time by a convincing four seconds to collect a second silver medal.