Shropshire Star

Hector Pardoe bound for Paris after World Championships

Shropshire swimming sensation Hector Pardoe broke Britain’s 10-year World Championship medal drought with bronze in Doha – and secured a place at next year’s Paris Olympics.


Pardoe, aged 22 ,and formerly of Whitchurch Wasps swimming club, out-sprinted some of the world’s fastest distance swimmers to claim third place in the 10km event. And after his Olympic debut ended prematurely following an elbow to the eye in 2021, the young swimmer revealed the motivation that helped him achieve success in Qatar.

“The emotions were quite high, following the path of redemption from Tokyo 2020 with the eye injury,” Pardoe said. “My primary aim was to secure the Olympic qualification, so to come out with a medal is even better.

“I was feeling great throughout the whole race – on that last lap I made it happen and followed my strategy perfectly.”

In a field of 79 swimmers from more than 50 nations, the race was ultimately won by Kristof Rasovszky of Hungary in a time of 1:48.21.20, with France’s Marc-Antoine Olivier taking silver just 2.4 seconds behind. Pardoe’s medal comes 13 years after Keri-Anne Payne won the women’s 10km title in Shanghai, the last medal achieved on a global level for Britain in the Olympic distance. It is the first success of 2024 for the Wrexham-born swimmer, following on from his world-record-breaking swim of the length of Lake Windermere in September 2023.

In 2017, Pardoe also became the first GB swimmer in history to win a medal at the World Junior Open Water Championships when he took bronze in the 5,000 metres.

At 17, he became one of the youngest male swimmers to be selected to represent GB at senior level, when he competed at the Glasgow European Championships.

The Olympic race, which Pardoe qualified for with his stunning swim in Doha, will take place on August 9 in the River Seine in the centre of Paris, against the backdrop of the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame.