Longridge paralympic swimming star Stephanie Slater is hoping to put a year of heartache behind her by targeting more success in the pool.
The 26-year-old sprint swimmer has endured a frustrating 12 months since her glorious exploits at the Rio Paralympics in 2016.
After winning a gold and silver in Brazil, Slater was riding on the crest of a wave, but unfortunately her career has stalled this year due to a bout of ill-health.
However, she is edging ever closer to full fitness and is hopeful of getting back in the competitive poolin 2018.
Having missed out on qualifying for the Commonwealth Games, which take place on Australia’s Gold Coast in April, Slater is hopeful of appearing at the European Championships, in Dublin, the following August.
“Following the high of Rio I had a corneal transplant operation on the 6th of October,” Slater said. “I was not allowed to do any sport or anything strenuous for four months.
“Unfortunately, the general anaesthetic effected my medical conditions and made me really poorly which really set me back.
“I ended up missing the Commonwealth Games trials which I was really upset about as it was a big goal of mine to qualify for these.
“The World Championships is in a few weeks’ time but it is being held in Mexico City which is 2,500m at altitude.
“I knew before I went to Rio that I would have to miss these as I’m not able to go to altitude due to my medical conditions.
“I’m now focusing on the European Championships. This gives me time to fully recover from my operation as I still have stitches in my eye and get back to full fitness. I am desperate to get back into training/competitions.
“I moved back home to my parents in Longridge in order to concentrate on my health and fully recover.
“It’s been a tough year but I’m ready and raring to go and can’t wait for the new season.” to start.