Rebecca Redfern is swimming for something bigger than herself this summer

There’s a year-old reason Para-swimming supermom Rebecca Redfern will cherish this summer’s Commonwealth Games more than anyone.

A year after giving birth to son Patrick, the Droitwich star made a remarkable return to sport last summer with a second Paralympic silver medal.

The Paralympic postponement played into Redfern’s hands and now another golden chance has landed in his lap in the form of the Home Games in his own backyard.

It will be the first time that Patrick will be able to watch his mother swim and that is enough to motivate Redfern.

“It drives me crazy to be at a Commonwealth Games half an hour from my house,” said the 22-year-old.

“It’s going to be special to have my family and friends supporting me and also for Patrick because he’s only ever seen me on TV.

“(Having Patrick) made me realize that it’s not just for me anymore, I don’t compete and I swim just for me.

“I do it for my family, all the children and adults who are inspired by my performance. It’s not an individual event anymore, it’s for everyone.

“It’s made me a better athlete because I don’t focus on the little things anymore and I don’t think too much and it allows me to train better and run better.”

This summer, the England team, supported by funds raised by National Lottery players, will include more than 400 athletes. Having secured his place in the team, Redfern is looking to capitalize on the unique opportunity to win a medal in his home country.

Birmingham 2022 marks the first time visually impaired classifications will feature in the Para-swimming program at the Games.

Defending world champion Redfern is one of the leaders in the 100m breaststroke and has won medals in this distance at every major championship.

The West Midlands ace raised Patrick during the Covid lockdowns, while continuing to train in a hot tub in his back garden and completing a degree at the University of Worcester.

“It’s all been a bit of a whirlwind,” she said. “When I found out I was pregnant I didn’t think I would swim again and I thought my career was over at that point.

“But thanks to the encouragement of all my coaches, I started training again and they really supported me throughout the confinement.

“I believe everything happens for a reason and when the Paralympic Games were postponed, that was the sign that encouraged me to get back to training.

“It gave me just enough time to qualify for 2021, which was amazing, and then bringing home a silver medal again was incredibly special.”

The Commonwealth Games will be the biggest multi-sport event on British soil since London 2012 and marks the return of the World Games with venues at full capacity.

As the Games are expected to inspire people and communities across the country this summer, Redfern hopes sharing her story will inspire others to get involved in the sport and turn their dreams into reality.

She relishes the prospect of racing under the England team banner with raucous home support at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre.

“I didn’t realize how much a crowd can affect your mentality,” she said. “Tokyo showed me that crowds can change the way you feel.

“The return of crowds for the Commonwealth Games will be amazing in Birmingham and as it is a home Games everyone will automatically be behind me as I am representing England!

“It boosts my confidence because having such a crowd behind you can be the extra boost needed to win an event.”

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