Rebecca Redfern

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Rebecca Redfern
Redfern Rio2016.jpg
Redfern at the Rio2016 Paralympics
Personal information
National teamGreat Britain
Born (1999-12-19) 19 December 1999 (age 21)
Droitwich Spa, England
ClassificationsS13, SB13, SM13
ClubWorcester Swimming Club
CoachMark Stowe
Medal record
Women's swimming
Representing  Great Britain
Paralympic Games
Silver medal – second place 2016 Rio de Janeiro 100m Breaststroke SB13
World Championships
Gold medal – first place 2019 London 100m Breaststroke SB13
European Championships
Silver medal – second place 2016 Funchal 100m Breaststroke SB13
GB Para Swimming International
Gold medal – first place 2015 Glasgow 100m Breaststroke MC
Bronze medal – third place 2016 Glasgow 100m Breaststroke MC

Rebecca Redfern (born 19 December 1999) is a British visually impaired para-swimmer from Droitwich who competes in S13/SB13/SM13 disability categories. She holds British and European records in SB13 100m breaststroke.

Personal life[edit]

Rebecca Redfern is the daughter of Katharine and Steve Redfern, and has three brothers, Anthony, Matthew and Nathan, all of whom also swim competitively. Redfern attended sixth form at Droitwich Spa High School where she studied A Levels in Maths, Business, and Psychology. Redfern now attends the University of Worcester where she is studying for a degree in Primary Initial Teacher Education.

When Redfern was 7 she was diagnosed with a degenerative eye condition known as retinitis pigmentosa, and now has grossly impaired visual fields with no peripheral vision and poor frontal vision.

Redfern is a member of Worcester Swimming Club and trains 16 hours per week in the pool plus four hours in the gym. She represents Worcester Swimming Club at club, county, regional and national level, as well as representing her country at international level.

Following her successes in 2016, Redfern has been honoured by the local community, and was invited to switch on the Droitwich Christmas Lights.[1] She was presented with the Hereford & Worcester Sports Award for the Junior Female Sportsperson of the Year,[2] followed by the Aspiring Talent Award at the West Midlands Sports Awards.[3] She was also the recipient of a Black Pear Tree Award from Worcestershire County Council.[4]

In September 2019, Redfern's life started a major cycle of change when she discovered she was pregnant, and in fact had been in the early stages of pregnancy when winning World Championship gold in London. In July 2020, almost 3 weeks after his due date, baby Patrick was born. This didn't keep Redfern out of the water though, and 8 weeks after the birth she was back onto the training programme at Worcester, albeit a reduced programme due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She took a difficult decision to defer the latter stages of her university degree to focus on swimming with her immediate target as qualification for the Tokyo Paralympic Games.

Swimming career[edit]

Redfern has been a competitive swimmer since age 9 but didn't enter the para-swimming world until 14 when she was spotted by the British Swimming Vision for Rio programme in September 2014.

On 3 May 2016 Redfern made her international debut at the 2016 IPC Swimming European Championships in Funchal, Portugal, claiming a silver medal and narrowly missing out on gold to Elena Krawzow (Germany) by 0.02 seconds.[5]

Redfern achieved the consideration time for the 2016 Rio Paralympics at the 2016 British Para-Swimming International Meet in Glasgow, UK where she set a new world record of 1:16.86 in the process, beating the one set 14 years previously by Kirby Cote of Canada.[6]

She made her Paralympic debut when she represented Great Britain at the 2016 Rio Paralympics. She swam a time of 1:13.81 which was over two seconds inside her own world record, although she finished second behind Fotimakhon Amilova of Uzbekistan who set a new world record of 1:12.45.[7] Redfern's time also claimed the Worcestershire county record as an able bodied swimmer, and the IPC European record.

2017 was a frustrating year for Redfern, when having achieved the British Swimming qualifying standard for the Para Swimming World Championships at the GB Summer National Championships in Sheffield in July 2017, the Mexican earthquake disaster meant that the Para Swimming World Championships were postponed, and British Swimming elected not to send a team to the rescheduled event. However Redfern was able to end the year well by breaking the short course world record for SB13 100m Breaststroke when she swam 1:14.80 at the Short Course Para Nationals in Manchester in December, beating the previous mark set by Kirby Cote of Canada in 2002.

2018 was equally frustrating. Redfern qualified for the European Championships in Dublin, however the SB13 100m Breaststroke event was demoted to a non medal event due to limited number of entrants. Rebeccca won the non medal event in a time of 1:15.99, her best since Rio.

In April 2019, Redfern qualified for the 2019 Para Swimming World Championships.[8] This event was originally planned for Malaysia, but due to political reasons it needed a new venue. Luckily for British athletes the revised venue was eventually determined to be London during September 2019.[9] where the swimmers would return to the scene of the hugely successful 2012 London Paralympics. At the World Championships, Redfern experienced her first taste of international glory when she beat Colleen Young of USA into second place to take the gold medal and title of world champion.[10]

Having taken time out following the birth of baby Patrick in July 2020, Redfern's return to training was hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic, however with assistance from Bedfordshire Hot Tubs and the short term lease of a Swim Spa, she was able to continue her training in the garden at home whilst waiting for pools to re-open. This helped her prepare for the British Para Swimming International Meet in Sheffield in April 2021 where she swam inside the GB consideration time for the Tokyo Paralympics[11] in the heat of the SB13 100m Breaststroke, and then bettered that performance in the final, swimming a time of 1:18.28, a full three seconds below the consideration time. Redfern now has three months in a restricted club programme to get herself fully ready for the Paralympic Games in August 2021.


  1. ^ "Paralympic swimmer to switch on Christmas lights in Droitwich". Worcester News. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  2. ^ "Sports Partnership Herefordshire and Worcestershire - 2016 Award Winners". Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  3. ^ "West Midlands Community Sports Awards | An inspirational Awards ceremony recognising and celebrating the difference sport makes to community life across the region". Retrieved 2016-12-07.
  4. ^ "Worcs Rio athletes presented with Black Pear Tree". Retrieved 2016-12-07.
  5. ^ "Ryabova takes down 50m freestyle S10 world record". 3 May 2016. Retrieved 3 May 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ Hudson, Elizabeth (24 April 2016). "Paralympic trials: Rebecca Redfern & Aaron Moores break world records". BBC. Retrieved 24 April 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ "Rio rains medals on day four in the pool". British Swimming. Retrieved 2016-11-01.
  8. ^ "Great Britain unveil team for World Para Swimming Champs". British Swimming. Retrieved 2019-05-03.
  9. ^ "World Para-swimming Championships: London to host after Malaysia stripped of event". 2019-04-15. Retrieved 2019-05-03.
  10. ^ "Great Britain continues charge with solid swims". British Swimming. Retrieved 2019-09-18.
  11. ^ "Redfern qualifies on return after baby". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2021-04-12.