STEPHANIE Millward insists that there are still plenty of things that she can improve upon in the lead up to the next Paralympic Games, despite yet another breathtaking performance at a major championships.
The 32-year-old pool star was in irresistible form at last week’s IPC European Swimming Championships in Eindhoven, with Millward’s insatiable appetite for the podium seeing her get her hands on a stunning seven medals at the Pieter van den Hoogenband Swim Stadium.
The Box ace, who scooped five-medal hauls at London 2012, the 2011 Europeans and last year’s World Championships, returned home with gold medals in the S9 100m freestyle, 400m freestyle, 100m backstroke, 4x100m freestyle relay and 4x100m medley relay, as well as silver in the 200m individual medley and bronze in the 100m butterfly.
Millward is also hoping that her performance helped perk up sidelined Aquae Sulis coach John Dougall.
“My coach John was in hospital after having an operation so hopefully it helped make him feel a little bit better – he sent me a few messages to say well done,” said Millward.
“Whilst I was out there, one of our coaches was a guy called Dave Evitts, who actually used to coach John back when he competed. How cool is that?
“I’m so, so proud of myself. Winning just one European medal is amazing so to get seven is unbelievable. I know that Steph Slater got seven golds, but I don’t think that there were any others.
“I wanted to see how I would do with a few little changes and my coach did have me doing things slightly differently. I usually go out at my max and come back with whatever I’ve got but I was saving my energy for the first half of the races this time.
“There are still lots of things to work on – there always are. I want to try and get stronger in my legs so that I can dive off the blocks even quicker.
“I’m still really happy with this though and it’s more great preparation for Rio in 2016.”
Millward’s final assignment of the summer will be National Paralympic Day, which takes place at the London Aquatics Centre, the London 2012 swimming venue, on August 30.
The Wiltshire swimmer added: “It’s really going to be about re-opening the Olympic pool and promoting the Paralympics to everyone.
“Then my book, which is balled ‘Paying the Price, by Stephanie Millward’ comes out at the end of the year. I’m going to become an aunt because my sister Christie is having a baby in December and that’s really exciting.”
Meanwhile, Trowbridge Paralympian Aaron Moores claimed two S14 bronze medals in Eindhoven, with the London 2012 silver medallist coming notching up a new PB of 1:03.50 in the 100m backstroke whilst also coming third in the 100m breastroke.
The 20-year-old also swims for Aquae Sulis.
Moores said: “I was really happy because I got good times as well as medals – my 100m backstroke time was a PB and the breastroke time was close to my PB.
“It was my first time at the Europeans and my first time swimming in the Nether-lands too. Now I want to get ready for the worlds next year.”
Corsham ASC member Craig Harris, 15, won a bronze medal in the SM14 200m individual medley.
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