The swimmer with a life-changing injury set to captain Team UK at Invictus Games

A swimmer who overcame a life-changing injury and depression has shared her story about how she has gone on to become the captain of Team UK for the Invictus Games 2020.

Speaking to Sameena Ali-Khan as part of the ‘My Britain’ series, Rachel Williamson from Bolsover in Derbyshire explains what Britain means to her.

From the ages of seven to seventeen, Rachel was a national swimmer, with aims of becoming an Olympian. But, after failing to make the make in Commonwealth Games trials in 2006, she stopped swimming for ten years. 

Her sporting background didn’t return to the fore until she started playing rugby for the RAF after finishing college. That’s when a life-changing injury altered the path of her sporting journey forever.

“I put my right hand down to the floor and my thumb got bent back and all we thought was it was nothing to be worried about, we taped it up and I played another game the following day,” she said.

“I noticed over time that it was travelling from my thumb to my fingers and into my hand and I was getting a weakened grip. It’s now spread up to my shoulder and I have no functioning use at all of my right arm.”

Having to leave the RAF because of the injury, Rachel describes the period as the “most depressing” she has ever had.

With the support of the British Legion and a friend she discovered the opportunities the Invictus Games could provide. 

Returning to the pool, she managed to win three silvers, two golds and a bronze medal at her first Games in 2018.

Her impressive efforts have resulted in her becoming captain for Team UK.

“I’m very proud to be British and looking forward to the future.”

Read more in our 'My Britain' series: