Laura Stephens and Lucy Hope have been named in the swimming squad for this summer's Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, completing a team of 30 that will head to Tokyo next month.
The pair were both part of the British cohort that enjoyed a record performance at the recent European Aquatics Championships, with Edinburgh University athlete Hope picking up four gold medals across a host of relay events and Stephens of Plymouth Leander helping Britain to a stunning Women's 4x100m Medley Relay victory and Championship record on the final night of action.
Butterfly specialist Stephens followed up that success by producing some brilliant displays in the 200m Butterfly at the British Swimming Glasgow Meet earlier this month - the final Olympic consideration meet before the Games. After smashing her personal best by more than half-a-second in the heats, she again dipped under the Tokyo consideration mark on the way to winning the final, helping to secure her that ticket to the Olympics.
"It feels absolutely incredible and a bit overwhelming, part of it hasn't quite sunk in yet and I don't think it will until I'm literally on the plane going," said Stephens, who trains in Plymouth under Robin Armayan.
"Every time that I have represented this country, it's always been such a big honour, but to do it on the biggest stage that our sport has is a real honour and such a privilege.
"I feel incredibly lucky. I've had the best support staff that I could have around me, my family and friends have been there for me since day one, they have believed in me, and that is the meaning behind being able to put that kit on and say 'I'm an Olympian for Team GB."
Like Stephens, Hope is now preparing for her maiden Olympic appearance after some eye-catching form through selection trials, the European Championships and the Glasgow Meet.
"It's quite surreal, especially after the year we've all had with COVID and everything. It has extended a four-year cycle to a five-year cycle. I'm just over the moon and can't wait for the experience," she said.
"My first ever Olympics, it's the pinnacle of our sport. It will be special. We've got kitting out soon, so even just to go and experience that, it's all about me absorbing as much as I can and then going and putting down some good performances in the summer."
On the final selections for the swimming team, Team GB Chef de Mission for Tokyo 2020 Mark England said: "It is fantastic to be able to welcome two more talented swimmers onto the team for the Tokyo Olympic Games. This is an incredibly strong team of 30 individuals and we’ve seen from Laura and Lucy’s recent performances that they will undoubtedly impress in Tokyo.
“We’d like to congratulate them both on their selection and hope that they soak up all the excitement that comes with being an Olympic debutant.”
Chris Spice, British Swimming National Performance Director and Team GB Swimming Team Leader, added: "I’m delighted to welcome Laura and Lucy onto the team, their selection just reward for some impressive swims over the last month, individually and most importantly in our relays. They have shown incredible resilience to bounce back and get the job done – this epitomises one of the key traits of our 30 strong team.
“I’ve no doubt they, along with the rest of the team, will kick on again as we fine tune our preparations for the Games over the coming weeks.”
Team GB will add the final aquatics athletes to its line-up for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games later this month with the announcements of the artistic and marathon swimmers.
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