Steadman on he path to sporting greatness

28/2/2013 (SPORT)''Paralympian Lauren Steadman (20) who took part in the Beijing and London 2012 Olympics, is originally from Peterborough but is currently studying at the University of Portsmouth. Lauren was training at the Mountbatten Centre in Portsmouth on Thursday evening.''Pictured is: Lauren Steadman during training.''Picture: Sarah Standing (13601-1348)
28/2/2013 (SPORT)''Paralympian Lauren Steadman (20) who took part in the Beijing and London 2012 Olympics, is originally from Peterborough but is currently studying at the University of Portsmouth. Lauren was training at the Mountbatten Centre in Portsmouth on Thursday evening.''Pictured is: Lauren Steadman during training.''Picture: Sarah Standing (13601-1348)
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The London Paralympics provided the ultimate high for GB swim star Lauren Steadman.

Now the University of Portsmouth student is determined to replicate the experience in an entirely new sport – with the help of her new adopted home.

After closing her 2012 campaign in the impressive surroundings of the Aquatic Centre with an eighth-place finish in the 100m freestyle (S9), Steadman stood at an important crossroads in her sporting career.

She could take a deserved break and bask in the euphoria which a sensational summer of British sporting success generated.

Alternatively, the 20-year-old could jump straight back in the pool and automatically focus her attentions on a third Paralympic swimming appearance.

In the end, though, she did neither.

Instead, Steadman hot-totted her way to New Zealand to compete in the World Triathlon Championships.

A runners-up spot in a pre-race aquathon, plus a fifth-place finish in the main event, sparked a new passion that continues to rage inside her.

And with a few calls to some of Portsmouth’s finest coaches on her return to student digs in Southsea, a new path to sporting success was soon being mapped out.

Since then, the second-year psychology student has been reaping the rewards of expert advice provided by City of Portsmouth athletics coaches Gerry North and Bronwin Carter.

North has been fine-tuning the Peterborough-born ace’s running technique, with Carter offering specialist strength and conditioning guidance at the Mountbatten Centre.

Portsmouth Northsea Swim Club’s Paul Hogg has also continued his coaching roll in the pool – something Steadman benefited from in the build-up to the Paralympics.

And with her new goals in place, Steadman is determined to make the most of the help at hand.

‘I’ve kind of done a gradual change from swimming to track,’ said Steadman.

‘I was having a rough patch in swimming for four years, while I completely hit all my goals in London.

‘I felt it was about time I needed a fresh challenge, and with my uncle in New Zealand, who is a triathlete, saying to me “go on, go on have a go”, I thought why not?

‘I had done a couple of triathlons before. I did the national triathlon in 2010 and came second.

‘Then I did one of the world series for GB in London’s Hyde Park in 2011 and again came second there also.

‘When I flew out to Auckland, I got silver in the aquathon beforehand, and although I got food poisoning the night before the world race, I came fifth.

‘That was pretty good considering the consequences and I realised that I liked it.

‘I’ve always been quite good at the three disciplines of the triathlon and since then I’ve been combining them in training at the Mounbatten Centre.

‘The people there have supported me the whole way – I use their bikes all the time, Gerry has been fantastic helping my running, and obviously with Paul I’ve been swimming with him for a year and a half.

‘It’s a good set-up, with Bronwin there, too, and I’m really pleased with how that’s all going for me.

‘The university has also been a fantastic help as well.

‘I’ve got so much help from so many people making me the athlete I am.’

With such support readily available, it’s little wonder Steadman is already targeting the top of her new trade.

And after a successful swimming career that also included world and European medal success, she clearly has a determination to succeed at what she turns her attentions to.

The world number one spot is Steadman’s immediate goal, while a run-out in the sport at the Rio Paralympics in 2016 tops the lot.

‘I’ve ranked top three in the world before and this year I’m aiming to be on the podium for the worlds in London Hyde Park in September,’ said the Paralympian.

‘I’ve got loads of time to get all the niggles right but my aim is to make podium there.

‘The long-term aim, though, is to compete in Rio.

‘If I carry on the way my training has been going, I’d like to think I’ll go.’

Despite her new love of triathlon, Steadman added she wouldn’t be neglecting her swimming ambitions.

‘‘I still have a passion for swimming,’ she said.

‘I’m going to the British Championships this weekend and I’ll go to the world qualifiers at the end of April and see what happens. My main aims and goals lie within triathlon but I’d still like to give it a go in the swimming pool.’