Rhys Darbey will make his Para Swimming World Championships debut in Manchester after being named in a 28-strong British team.

Darbey made a splash at the Citi World Para Swimming Series inc. British Para Swimming Meet at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge earlier this month, where he was the top British male athlete in the MC200m Individual Medley. A stunning swim saw him dip under the SM14 consideration time for the Manchester World Championships, where he will make his debut from 31st July to 6th August this summer.

The selection caps a rapid rise for the Nofio Clwyd swimmer, who was only classified as a para swimmer last October.

Rhys Darbey starred in Sheffield.
Rhys Darbey starred in Sheffield.

A roaring home crowd will await Rhys and the rest of the British team in four months’ time, with the 11th edition of the Para Swimming World Championships set to take place in a newly refurbished Manchester Aquatics Centre this summer – the latest chapter in the impressive legacy of global para-swimming competition hosted in the UK.

He will join a group that features a vast amount of experience, with 15 of the athletes having taken to the competition pool in the last edition on British soil back at London 2019, and 10 swimmers who graced the top of the Worlds podium in Madeira last June including the likes of Bethany Firth (S14), Maisie Summers-Newton (S6) and Stephen Clegg (S12).

Speaking on the selections, British Swimming Associate Performance Director Tim Jones said:

“It was fantastic to see competition thriving in Sheffield – with 35 nations in attendance at the Para Swimming World Series event, it provided a great opportunity for our athletes to test themselves against international counterparts and with the backdrop of this being our key selection event.

“Now the focus very much turns to ensuring this team can produce season’s best performances when it matters most, on the World Championship stage in four months’ time. The British team selected boasts a hugely experienced cohort of Paralympic and world champions. Alongside that, it’s promising to see the development of a number of athletes who have moved it on in the right direction since their international debuts in Madeira, and we also welcome several new faces to the team as we build towards the future.

“Manchester 2023 is a brilliant chance to set the stage for ourselves one year out from Paris 2024, and we will be working closely with these swimmers and their home programmes to support them through the coming months and ensure they are in the position to bring their best to the fore in front of a home crowd this summer.”

The British Para-Swimming team for the 2023 Para Swimming World Championships:

  • Jessica-Jane Applegate, City of Norwich
  • Jordan Catchpole, Team Waveney
  • Ellie Challis, British Swimming Performance Centre Manchester
  • Stephen Clegg, Edinburgh University
  • Rhys Darbey, Nofio Clwyd
  • Sam Downie, East Lothian
  • William Ellard, St Felix School SC
  • Louise Fiddes, Hatfield SC
  • Bethany Firth, Ards SC
  • Poppy Maskill, Alsager SC/British Swimming Performance Centre Manchester
  • Rebecca Redfern, Worcester SC
  • Faye Rogers, University of Aberdeen
  • Toni Shaw, University of Aberdeen
  • Georgia Sheffield, Bolton Metro Swimming Squad
  • Maisie Summers-Newton, Northampton SC
  • Brock Whiston, Barking and Dagenham AC

The athletes above gained selection after they achieved the consideration time as per the selection policy (individual) at the trials event.

  • Grace Harvey, British Swimming Performance Centre Manchester
  • Suzanna Hext, Swindon ASC
  • Louis Lawlor, City of Glasgow ST
  • Scott Quin, Edinburgh University
  • Alice Tai, Ealing SC
  • Cameron Vearncombe, Plymouth Leander

The athletes above gained selection at the discretion of the selection panel following the conclusion of the trials event.

  • Oliver Carter, University of Stirling
  • Scarlett Humphrey, Northampton SC
  • Tully Kearney, Loughborough University
  • Thomas Nevaro-Barber, Portsmouth Northsea SC
  • Matthew Redfern, Worcester SC

The athletes above gained selection at the discretion of the selection panel to develop Great Britain’s representation within relay events.

  • Siena Oxby, Stockport Metro SC

The athletes above gained selection at the discretion of the selection panel with regards to medal potential for the LA 2028 Paralympic Games.

British Para-Swimming selection policies can be found here.