Paralympian Steph Slater delighted to get freedom of her hometown

Proud: Stephanie Slater picks up her award from Coun Rupert Swarbrick
Proud: Stephanie Slater picks up her award from Coun Rupert Swarbrick

One of the country’s top swimming stars has been given the freedom of her hometown.

Gold and silver medallist Steph Slater was presented with a plaque and certificate by Longridge mayor Coun Rupert Swarbrick.

She was also invited to Preston’s Council Chambers by mayor John Collins to display her medals.

The 35-year-old, who represented Great Britain in the Rio Paralympic Games, said she was honoured

She said: “Thank you to the mayor of Preston and Preston Council for recognising my achievements – a fantastic day!”

Coun Swarbrick said: “The vast majority of us will have no idea how hard it is to become an Olympic medal winner.

“But we wanted to show our appreciation of the success Stephanie enjoyed in Rio with gold and silver medals in the pool. We are proud of her.”

Recognition of Stephanie’s achievements has also been given by several local schools where she visited to talk to pupils about her career.

One special visit was to her old school St Cecilia’s RC High, where she helped to celebrate St Cecilia’s Day and sat at her old desk with her previous teacher Gary Caulfield.

The swimmer became Paralympic champion and silver medallist at the Rio Games after previously winning seven European gold medals at Eindhoven in 2014.

She became one of the stars of international para-swimming in 2014, winning the 100m freestyle silver for England at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

She then landed seven golds on her IPC European Championships debut in Eindhoven, breaking her first world record in the 100m butterfly.

Her IPC World Championship debut came in 2013 out in Montreal.

She won silver in both the 100m butterfly and 200m individual medley and experienced the top of the international podium for the first time as she claimed the medley relay gold with her British teammates.

Stephanie began her sporting career as an able bodied athlete, but after suffering nerve damage to her left arm she switched to parasport.

She started swimming at the age of three, was talented in her youth and began entering British Championships from 2006, specialising in the breaststroke.

After her condition had been diagnosed, and having been a games maker at the London 2012 paralympics in the Aquatics Centre, she was inspired to return to the pool as a para-swimmer.

In December 2012 she began entering events and rapidly began to win.