Saying Grace: Student swimmer makes splash at Paralympics

An immunology student at The University of Manchester is to go for Paralympic glory as world number one when she starts in the swimming competition on Thursday (26/08/21).

Grace Harvey, will be racing in the 200m IM (SM6), 100m breaststroke (SB5), her main events, and the 400m free (S6), 100m back (S6) and 50m butterfly (S6). She is world number one in the 100m breastroke SB5.

From Ware in Hertfordshire, her first race- the 200M IM (SM6) will be at 9:43 Tokyo time

The 200m IM take place on days 2 of the Games 26th August and the 100m breastroke on day 4, the 28th august. Other events fall over days 6,9 and 10.

Grace, who has cerebral palsy and began swimming when she was 4, has no function in her lower legs, swimming without a kick and co-ordination difficulties in her upper limbs.

She has broken 11 British records, including the European record in the S7 200m IM which she broke swimming for the University at the 2018 British Universities & Colleges Sport championhips.

She is also European bronze medallist in the S6 100m backstroke and British number 1 in the 100m backstroke.

Dr Thomas Nuhse, her academic advisor at the University said: “Grace’s enthusiasm for science and the hard work she has put in alongside her full-on training has been an inspiration.

“All of us here at Manchester are thrilled to watch her compete at the Paralympics and are cheering her on. Go Grace!”

She is currently training to become a Mental Health Champion for the British Para-Swimming team.

My belief in the hard work will come out on top. But I also want to do myself and my family proud
Grace Harvey

Last year she  revealed what it was like to walk for the first time in a robotic suit telling the BBC she was "overwhelmed" by the experience, adding: “had experienced the life that I was never destined for."

She was invited to Suzuka University to use their cyborg technology and was given the chance to try out a walking suit.

After watching the 2004 and 2008 Paralympic Games, she decided she wanted to compete and joined a club at age nine.

The swimmer follows a gruelling training regime: 8 pool sessions – around 16 hours, 3 gym sessions and 2 indoor rowing sessions.

“I wish I had more time to go home and see my family and friends. Swimming doesn’t really leave me much free time – but it’s worth it,” she told the University’s My Manchester News last year.

“My belief in the hard work will come out on top. But I also want to do myself and my family proud,” added the University of Manchester sports scholar, a scheme which supports high performing athletes.

In her first year of study she was a full-time student and a full-time athlete, though in the second year she went part-time, finding, she said, the balance easier to manage. This year she completed her second half of the second year and in September will be returning full time to finish her third year.

  • Dame Sarah Storey has won Great Britain’s first gold medal of Tokyo 2021 at the Paralympic Games. Storey  won the 3000 metre individual pursuit, after beating compatriot Crystal Lane-Wright. The win takes her total haul to 15 Paralympic golds – one short of swimmer Mike Kenny’s British record. She was awarded an honorary degree at the University in 2012. 

Share this release