Pembrokeshire teenager set to fulfil her Commonwealth Games dream

·2-min read
Lily Rice will swim in the 100m backstroke at the up coming Commonwealth Games
Lily Rice will swim in the 100m backstroke at the up coming Commonwealth Games

A Pembrokeshire  teenager is set to fulfil her ‘dream’ by competing for Wales at this summer’s Commonwealth Games.

Lily Rice will swim in the S8 category of the 100m backstroke after notching up a qualifying time of 1:22.32 - a top 7 time in the Commonwealth.

Rice, 18, is already achieved some inspirational accolades being a former wheelchair motocross (WCMX) world champion.

Rice has swum since she was young, but took a break from the sport for a few years while focusing on WCMX.

She rejoined Pembrokeshire County Swimming (PCS) in January, with the aim of qualifying for the Commonwealth Games, which take place in Birmingham between July 28 and August 8.

“I knew it was an ambitious goal because I had to drop 9 seconds from my 100m backstroke time,” said Lily, who lives in Manorbier.

“I’ve put in a lot of work in the pool and in the gym, which has paid off.

Representing Wales at a Commonwealth Games is a dream come true.

Rice is no stranger to turning dreams into reality. In 2017, aged 13, she became the first European female to perform a backflip in a wheelchair.

The Pembrokeshire teen followed this up in 2019 by becoming the women’s WCMX world champion.

She returned to swimming after the pandemic.

Rice has been through every stage of the Pembrokeshire swimming pathway, from learn-to-swim to the performance squad.

Nick Russell, assistant coach at PCS, said: “Lily has worked really hard since coming back to our programme, so it’s great to see that being rewarded.

We are all so proud to see a Pembrokeshire girl doing it on the national and international stage.

Rice notched up her Commonwealth qualifying time at the Welsh National Swimming Championships, held over Easter weekend in Swansea.


Craig Nelson, head coach at PCS, said: “This is the culmination of a fantastic team effort, which has included support from Swim Wales for us as a performance swimming club and Strength Academy Wales in Haverfordwest, which helps our athletes with their strength and conditioning.

We are sure that Lily will do Wales, and Pembrokeshire, proud this summer.

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