Today (Wednesday) is a red-letter day for swimmers Ollie Hynd and Charlotte Henshaw because it’s the start of the Paralympic Games in Rio, where they are hoping to add to their medal tallies.
Hynd MBE, who hails from Kirkby and trains with the Nova Centurion squad in Mansfield, is a current Paralympic, world, European and Commonwealth champion. And as such, the 21-year-old is one of the few athletes in history to hold all of those titles at the same time.
Hynd won gold, silver and bronze medals on his Paralympic debut at London 2012 when he raced alongside his brother Sam. The duo competed against each other in the 200m individual medley SM8 and the 400m freestyle S8.
In the build-up to Rio, Ollie has consistently claimed podium places at major championships and, in 2015, he also broke his brother’s long-standing world record for the 400m freestyle S8, which Sam had set at the Beijing Paralympic Games in 2008. Last year, he won a hat-trick of gold medals at the world championships in Funchal, Portugal.
Hynd first burst on to the world swimming scene in 2011, securing a spot at the British International Disability Championships in Sheffield. He went on crown his breakthrough season by winning three medals on his European Championship debut, including gold in the 200m individual medley SM8.
He was awarded the MBE in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to swimming.
The 29-year-old Henshaw, who lives and trains in Mansfield, has been a member of the British team for almost ten years and has consistently won medals at major competitions, including silver at the London 2012 Paralympics, where she twice broke Games records. She has made the 100m breaststroke SB6 her specialist event.
Henshaw was born with a congenital condition which led to the amputation of both of her legs, above the knee, when she was just 15 months old. She first started swimming at the age of four when she began lessons at her local pool. She progressed through the local club system and made her Paralympic Games debut at Beijing in 2008.
Last year, she clocked numerous personal-best times, lowering the European record three times and winning silver at the IPC World Championships in Glasgow.