Claire Cashmore MBE

Claire helped in making an impact to young people’s lives and raising aspirations whilst working on the Sporting Champions programme, and is now looking to inspire your audience by sharing his/her secret of what it takes to be the best you can be!

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At the age of nine, Claire competed in her first sporting event – a swimming gala in Dubai where her parents lived.

One of the competitors noticed that she only had one arm and made the mistake of asking how she could swim. Actions speak louder than words – she won the race and left this able-bodied swimmer dumbfounded.

Two years later she returned to the UK and joined the Wyre Forest Swimming Club. After years of early mornings and late nights Claire became the Junior British Champion in her category (S9).

This early success was only a taste of the future, as in 2004 Claire qualified for the Athens Paralympics. Despite having to juggle her intense training programme ahead of the Games with the demands of her GCSE’s, Claire claimed bronze medals in both the 100m backstroke and 200m individual medley. This historic achievement came at the age of just 16, making her the youngest member of the British Paralympics swimming team.

In the same year, Claire won the BBC Midlands Young Disabled Sports Person of the Year award after winning a gold medal at the British Championships.

She also picked up the ITV Sporting Midlander of the Year, NPower Young Female Achiever and WASP Disability Person of the Year awards. As a result of her two bronze medals Claire was put on the World Class Performance programme in 2005. Determined to cement her position as one of the leading lights of GB Paralympic swimming, she continued to progress over the following four years and build on her success in Athens.

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