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Paralympian Claire Cashmore blows off the cobwebs with BUCS gold 27/02/2017

WITH eight Paralympic medals to her name, nobody would deny Redditch swimming star Claire Cashmore a well-earned break, but she’s back in the water and raring to go as her 2017 season gets underway.

Cashmore, who last week received an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List, won Paralympic gold and silver at last summer’s Games in Rio, adding to the six medals she has won since Athens 2004.

This weekend, the 28-year-old was back in the pool to represent Northumbria University – where she is studying for a Masters degree in leadership and management – at BUCS Nationals in Sheffield, the UK’s largest multi-sport event.

There, she clinched the 50m freestyle crown, and she admits she couldn’t have asked for a better start to life post-Rio.

“It’s great to blow off the cobwebs,” said Cashmore, who is also a three-time World champion. “I had a long break after Rio so this is my first competition after getting back to training, so while my times aren’t particularly great, it’s good to come back and actually compete again.

“The comeback after Rio is tough. After Rio, I was on a massive high, but when you come back, you go on a bit of a lull and get a bit of the post-Paralympic blues.

“I definitely felt that this time, just because you’ve been working for years and years for that one dream. It’s everything your whole life revolves around.

“So then when suddenly it’s done, it’s a case of ‘what’s next?’. I probably didn’t set goals early enough in the season to have something to aim for, so it is tough. But it’s good being back now.”

Taking place from Friday to Sunday, BUCS Nationals saw more than 6,000 students from up and down the country descend on the Steel City for three action-packed days of sport.

And for Cashmore, she couldn’t be prouder to pull on the Northumbria cap as a thanks for their ongoing support.

“I came to BUCS just wanting to do my best. There is less pressure this time on me because I’m not fit at all, so it’s just a case of coming along, and trying to get as many points as possible for Team Northumbria,” she added.

“I want to give them something back because they have given me so much. They have really invested a lot in Paralympic athletes.

“BUCS Nationals is a fantastic opportunity for anyone, whether it’s those who just want to take part or those at the real elite level, which I think is fantastic that they are all under one roof.

“To have all the sports competing on the same weekend makes it like a mini-Olympic or Paralympic Games which is fantastic.”

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