The Nofio Clwyd athlete will make his Paralympics debut in Paris when the Games get underway in 100 days. Darbey, who only received his S14 classification in 2022, earned a silver medal at his maiden World Para-Swimming World Championships at Manchester Aquatics Centre in the SM14 200m Individual Medley.

The 16-year-old backed up his performance in Manchester with another stunning swim at the Speedo Aquatics GB Swimming Championships to earn his place on Team GB. With the pressure on at London Aquatics Centre, Darbey sealed his spot on the Eurostar by finishing comfortably inside the nomination time and second only to Rhys Ellard in the 200m IM. Darbey, who is coached by Craig Breeze, is the first Welsh para-swimmer to qualify for the Games since 2012.

“Once I got that silver medal at the World Championships, I definitely thought I could qualify,” said Darbey. “I feel like I’ve improved so much over the last few years and I would like a medal in Paris or at least a final.

“It’s the pinnacle of the sport and I’m really looking forward to it, my family are trying to book hotels now. My parents still wake up at four or five in the morning to take me to training and they’ve been doing that for five years now. I love racing, it’s great, I feel like I can lock in when it comes to big moments and I’m good at stepping up.

“I just feel like when I dive into water, it clears my head and I really enjoy that. I watched the Paralympics in 2012, 2016 and in Tokyo and it looked awesome, I can’t wait to get there. It’s going to be great and I’m looking forward to it. Hopefully there is more to come.”

 “Our 26 swimmers represent an exciting mix of youth and experience, and there’s no doubt they all have fantastic potential to make Great Britain proud in Paris this summer. I’m really excited to see the ParalympicsGB team start to take shape and look forward to welcoming athletes from all corners of the UK, across 19 sports in total, in the coming weeks and months.”

Aquatics GB Associate Performance Director Tim Jones said: “I’m delighted that ParalympicsGB are now announcing these 26 swimmers to compete in the swimming events in Paris in 100 days’ time.

“Our athlete cohort has evolved significantly since the Tokyo Games, and with 15 first-time Paralympians on the team, we know we have great potential to be very successful in Paris. Amongst our more experienced team members we’ve also seen some positive performance developments across this cycle to build on results from the past. We travel to the Games with a high quality group of well-supported swimmers from a diverse range of training locations, which is testament the hard work and commitment from a large number of clubs and their coaches.

“With the team now unveiled, we will forge ahead in the coming months with the comprehensive plans we have put in place for this important pre-Games preparation phase, and I have every confidence we will arrive in Paris ready deliver our best possible performance.”

Swim Wales Chief Executive Fergus Feeney said: “Huge congratulations must go to Rhys and everyone who has been part of his journey to the Paralympic Games this summer. This achievement is a testament to Rhys’s dedication, hard work, and commitment to the sport. It also highlights the incredible support system surrounding him, including his coaches, family, teammates, and the all who contribute to the Swim Wales para pathway. Rhys has shown extraordinary perseverance and talent to overcome numerous challenges, and we are all immensely proud of his accomplishments. We look forward to watching him represent Wales and Great Britain on the greatest stage and are confident that he will inspire countless other with his performances at the Games.”

Swim Wales National Performance Director Ross Nicholas said: “I am delighted to Rhys rewarded for his performances with selection for the 2024 Paris Paralympic Games. Rhys has come through a tough selection process since being classified two years ago and huge congratulations must go to him, his coach Craig Breeze and his wider support network. We’re looking forward to seeing Rhys represent our nation in Paris and wish him the very best of luck.”

A total of around 230 athletes from 19 sports are expected to make up the British team that will compete in Paris, with further names to be announced by ParalympicsGB in the next few weeks.

At Tokyo 2020 ParalympicsGB won medals across a record-breaking 18 different sports – the highest number of any nation ever. ParalympicsGB finished second on the medal table with 124 medals overall, including 41 gold, 38 silver and 45 bronze.

Darbey (right) has developed into a world-class Para-swimmer.

Ellie Challis, Manchester Performance Centre (S3/SB2/SM3)

Stephen Clegg, University of Edinburgh (S12/SB12/SM12)

Rhys Darbey, Nofio Clwyd (S14/SB14/SM14)

Bruce Dee, Northampton SC (S6/SB6/SM6)

William Ellard, St Felix Swimming Club (S14/SB14/SM14)

Louise Fiddes, Hatfield SC (S14/SB14/SM14)

Grace Harvey, Manchester Performance Centre (S6/SB5/SM6)

Suzanna Hext, Tigersharks A.S.C. (S5/SB4/SM5)

Eliza Humphrey, Northampton SC (S11/SB11/SM11)

Scarlett Humphrey, Northampton SC (S11/SB11/SM11)

Tully Kearney, Loughborough University (S5/SB5/SM5)

Louis Lawlor, City of Glasgow ST (S14/SB14/SM14)

Poppy Maskill, Manchester Performance Centre (S14/SB14/SM14)

Olivia Newman-Baronius, Maxwell Swim Club (S14/SB14/SM14)

Megan Neave, Repton Swimming (S14/SB14/SM14)

Rebecca Redfern, Worcester SC (S13/SB13/SM13)

Faye Rogers, University of Aberdeen Performance (S10/SB10/SM10)

Toni Shaw, University of Aberdeen Performance (S9/SB9/SM9)

Harry Stewart, Plymouth Leander SC (S14/SB14/SM14)

Maisie Summers-Newton, Northampton SC (S6/SB6/SM6)

Alice Tai, Ealing SC (S8, SB8, SM8)

Mark Tompsett, Bolton Metro SS (S14/SB14/SM14)

Cameron Vearncombe, Manchester Performance Centre (S14/SB14/SM14)

Callie-Ann Warrington, RTW Monson SC (S10/SB10/SM10)

Brock Whiston, Barking and Dagenham/London Disability SC (S8, SB8, SM8)

Iona Winnifrith, Tonbridge SC (S7/SB7/SM7)