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Congratulations to Woking Swimming Club alumna Hannah Russell for being made a MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for services to swimming, in the New Year Honours list announced yesterday.

Hannah, a World Record Holder and Multi-medal winning Paralympian in Rio, was among  many sporting heroes honoured in the New Years Honours List.

Hannah’s Road to London 2012 and Rio 2016

In 2010 Hannah was scouted through the ‘Playground to Podium’ initiative, a British system of spotting sporting talent in young people with a disability. After being classified as S12 in 2011, she entered the 2011 IPC European Championships, in Berlin. There she won two medals, silver in the 100 m backstroke and bronze in the 100m butterfly.In 2012 she took part in the 2012 British Championships, taking another two medals, taking gold in the 100 m backstroke and silver in the 400 m freestyle. During the British Championship, Russell broke the European record in the S12 class 100 m backstroke, with a time of 1:09.52. Later that month, at the Nationwide Junior and Youth Swimming Championships in Sheffield, she broke two S12 world records, in the 400m freestyle and the 100m backstroke.

Although stating that her sights were set on qualifying for the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio, Russell’s results were good enough to make the Great Britain swimming team for the 2012 Games in London. At 16 years old, she was one of the youngest members of the team, and was entered into five S12 events the 50 m freestyle, 100 m freestyle, 40 m freestyle, 100m backstroke, 100m butterfly. In her first event, the 400m freestyle she swam a personal best of 4:38.60 to take the silver, her first paralympic medal. She finished 0.71 seconds behind Oxana Savchenko of Russia. She won her second medal of the Games, a bronze, in the 100m butterfly.

Information kindly supplied by Woking Swimming Club

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