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PASCOE Sophie
Sport Para swimming
NPC New Zealand   
GenderWomen
Age28
Place of BirthChristchurch, NZL
Height1.78 m
Human Interest
Impairment Information
Type of Impairment
Limb deficiency
Origin of Impairment
Acquired
Classification
S9, SB8, SM9
Further Personal Information
Residence
Christchurch, NZL
Occupation
Athlete
Languages
English
Higher education
Beauty Therapy - Kristen Stewart School of Make Up Artistry: Christchurch, ENG
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport?
She began swimming at age seven in New Zealand.
Why this sport?
She was able to swim faster than her able-bodied friends and realised she had a talent for the sport. "I was told at age eight I had a talent for swimming and that I could represent New Zealand."
Club / Team
QEII Swim Club: Christchurch, NZL
Name of coach
Roly Crichton [personal], NZL
Training Regime
She trains four times a week.
Senior International Debut
Year
2006
Competing for
New Zealand
Tournament
World Championships
Location
Durban, FRA
General Interest
Nicknames
Soph (Twitter profile, 08 Sep 2017)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning gold medals at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing. (Athlete, 12 Sep 2019)
Most influential person in career
Her parents. (Athlete, 12 Sep 2019)
Hero / Idol
New Zealand Para swimmer Cameron Leslie. (Athlete, 12 Sep 2019)
Injuries
In August 2018 she underwent surgery to remove what remained of the fibula bone in her left leg, as well as the main nerve that ran into her stump. Doctors made the decision to operate after she had experienced pain earlier in the year when trying on a new prosthetic leg. (stuff.co.nz, 31 Dec 2018)

She suffered from an infection while competing at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. The illness forced her to miss the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships in Pasadena, CA, United States of America. She underwent an operation in Canada, which took her two months to recover from. (stuff.co.nz, 18 Apr 2015)
Superstitions / Rituals / Beliefs
She listens to music from US singer Missy Elliot before every race. (paralympic.org, 11 May 2019)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Everyone can be 100% physically ready. It's who has that 100% mental X-factor that will be world champion." (odt.co.nz, 14 Oct 2016)
Awards and honours
In 2019 she was named Para-Swimmer of the Year by Swimming New Zealand, the fourth consecutive time she had won the honour and the eighth time in total. (swimswam.com, 05 Apr 2020)

She was flag bearer for New Zealand at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, QLD, Australia. (radionz.co.nz, 03 Apr 2018)

She was named the 2017 Swimmer of the Year by Swimming NZ. (stuff.co.nz, 09 Apr 2017)

In 2017 she was nominated for the Laureus World Sports Award for Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability. (stuff.co.nz, 12 Jan 2017)

In 2017 she was presented with the Sport New Zealand Leadership Award at the 54th Halberg Awards. (halbergawards.co.nz, 09 Feb 2017)

She was named New Zealand's Sportsperson with an Impairment of the Year for 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2017. (teara.govt.nz, 2017; paralympics.org.nz, 22 Feb 2016)

In October 2009 she received four honours at the Canterbury Sportsperson Awards in New Zealand, which included being named the Sportsperson of the Year. She became the first athlete with an impairment to receive the award. (stuff.co.nz, 02 Oct 2009)

In March 2009 she was given the New Zealand Order of Merit in recognition of her services to swimming. (gg.govt.nz, 19 Mar 2009)
Milestones
She won three gold medals and two silver medals at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. This took her Paralympic medal total to 15, making her the most successful athlete from New Zealand to have competed at the Paralympic Games. In 2008 she became the youngest New Zealander to have won a Paralympic medal when she took silver in the S10 100m butterfly at the 2008 Games in Beijing. She was also the youngest member of the New Zealand team at the Games. (stuff.co.nz, 09 Apr 2017; nzherald.co.nz, 17 Sep 2008; tvnz.co.nz, 09 Sep 2008)
Ambitions
To retain her Paralympic titles at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (newsroom.co.nz, 02 Nov 2020)
Impairment
Her left leg was amputated below the knee at age two after her father accidentally reversed over her with a lawnmower. (stuff.co.nz, 19 Oct 2013)
Other information
TRAINING ABROAD
In 2018 she spent more than three months in Nottingham, England, as part of her preparations for the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. While she was there she trained with British Para swimmer Ollie Hynd, who has neuro muscular myopathy. "Working one-on-one with Ollie was definitely beneficial. It was really challenging but made me a tougher person. There were times when it wasn't going great, and times when it went so great. But I'm so glad I did it, because it's part of the new chapter in my life. Another stepping stone towards Tokyo." (stuff.co.nz, 31 Dec 2018)

BIOGRAPHY
Her biography 'Stroke of Fate' was published in 2013. The book reveals details about how the accident in which she lost the lower part of her left leg has affected her family. The limb was amputated at age two after her father Garry accidentally reversed over her with a lawnmower, something he says has haunted him ever since. "I wanted people to know about me so when they watch me race, they can feel like they know me. I really wanted to make it as honest and open as possible because I see myself as an open book anyway." (yahoo.com, 15 Nov 2013)

FURTHER EDUCATION
She has studied for qualifications in business and management through an online course. (stuff.co.nz, 31 Dec 2018)

Competition Highlights (historical)
Paralympic Games
Rank Year Event Result
9 2008 100m Freestyle S10 1:05.90
1 2008 100m Backstroke S10 1:10.57
1 2008 100m Breaststroke SB9 1:22.58
2 2008 100m Butterfly S10 1:10.53
1 2008 200m Individual Medley SM10 2:35.21
1 2012 200m Individual Medley SM10 2:25.65
2 2012 50m Freestyle S10 28.24
1 2012 100m Butterfly S10 1:04.43
2 2012 100m Backstroke S10 1:06.69
1 2012 100m Freestyle S10 1:00.89
2 2012 100m Breaststroke SB9 1:18.38
2 2016 50m Freestyle S10 27.72
1 2016 100m Backstroke S10 1:07.04 
1 2016 100m Butterfly S10 1:02.65 
1 2016 200m Individual Medley SM10 2:24.90 
2 2016 100m Freestyle S10 59.85 
2 2021 100m Breaststroke SB8 1:20.32
3 2021 100m Backstroke S9 1:11.15
1 2021 100m Freestyle S9 1:02.37
1 2021 200m Individual Medley SM9 2:32.73
5 2021 100m Butterfly S9 1:09.31
World Championships
Rank Year Event Result
12 2006 50m Freestyle S10 33.04
13 2006 100m Freestyle S10 1:10.96
12 2006 400m Freestyle S10 5:28.89
9 2006 100m Backstroke S10 1:18.82
4 2006 100m Breaststroke SB9 1:26.92
10 2006 100m Butterfly S10 1:26.16
3 2006 200m Individual Medley SM10 2:47.07
1 2010 100m Butterfly S10 1:08.06
2 2010 200m Individual Medley SM10 2:30.64
3 2010 100m Breaststroke SB9 1:21.25
2 2010 50m Freestyle S10 29.30
2 2010 100m Backstroke S10 1:07.85
1 2013 100m Freestyle S10 1:00.15
1 2013 100m Breaststroke SB9 1:17.53
1 2013 100m Butterfly S10 1:03.95
1 2013 100m Backstroke S10 1:05.95
1 2013 50m Freestyle S10 27.78
3 2015 50m Freestyle S10 28.00
1 2015 200m Individual Medley SM10 2:26.51
3 2015 100m Breaststroke SB9 1:19.74
2 2015 100m Backstroke S10 1:07.51
1 2015 100m Butterfly S10 1:03.74
1 2015 100m Freestyle S10 1:00.16
7 2015 4 x 100m Medley Relay 34 Points 5:09.48
1 2019 100m Freestyle S9 1:00.20
1 2019 100m Backstroke S9 1:07.49
1 2019 100m Butterfly S9 1:04.35
1 2019 50m Freestyle S9 27.77
Commonwealth Games (Overall)
Rank Year Event Result
1 2014 100m Breaststroke SB9 1:19.36
1 2014 200m Individual Medley SM10 2:27.74
1 2018 200m Individual Medley SM10 2:27.72
1 2018 100m Breaststroke SB9 1:18.09
World Championships Short Course
Rank Year Event Result
1 2009 100m Backstroke S10 1:07.87
3 2009 100m Breaststroke SB9 1:21.16
1 2009 100m Butterfly S10 1:08.94
3 2009 100m Freestyle S10 1:03.34
1 2009 100m Individual Medley SM10 1:10.04
1 2009 200m Individual Medley SM10 2:32.27
3 2009 400m Freestyle S10 4:50.70