Dame Sophie Pascoe said competing in one event instead of two was a "blessing in disguise" following her COVID-hit build-up ©ITG

Multiple Paralympic swimming champion Dame Sophie Pascoe admits she has been feeling the lingering effects of COVID-19 but believes her decision to challenge for one title here is a "blessing in disguise" as she looks to add to her Commonwealth Games haul.

Dame Sophie suffered a setback in her preparations for Birmingham 2022 when she contracted coronavirus earlier this month.

Her positive test meant that the 29-year-old Para swimmer had to train at home as she geared up for the Games before meeting up with the rest of her teammates in Birmingham.

"I managed to recover not too badly from COVID," Dame Sophie told insidethegames.

"Yes, I have been feeling it a little bit in the lungs in the pool.

"Brett [Naylor], my coach, and myself have felt like we have taken all the precautions to be able to come back and give everything we can on race day.

"I swam a couple of days ago in the pool, and I am feeling really good.

"I can only give it my best on the day and whatever the outcome I am going to be proud of that."

Dame Sophie Pascoe is looking to secure a fifth Commonwealth Games title ©Getty Images
Dame Sophie Pascoe is looking to secure a fifth Commonwealth Games title ©Getty Images

Dame Sophie is a four-time Commonwealth Games champion, winning 100 metres breaststroke SB9 and 200m individual medley [IM] SM10 golds at both Glasgow 2014 and Gold Coast 2018.

But the 11-time Paralympic gold medallist has opted to only race in the women’s 100m freestyle SB9 event which is due to be held on Friday (July 29).

"I could have entered into two but decided not to as I would have had to swim up a class in the 200m IM," said Dame Sophie.

"I also decided not to train for the 200m IM post Tokyo [2020 Paralympics] so taking on just the one event in the 100m freestyle was what I was limited to, but I also love that event.

"If I took on those two races, it would be a different story leading into this particular Games and now, given my journey over the past couple of week, I know that I definitely would not have been able to do two events.

"Taking on this one is a blessing in disguise and I know that I can give my absolute 100 per cent to that one race."

Birmingham 2022’s COVID-19 protocols - which are far more relaxed compared to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics - have been questioned by some leading team officials including New Zealand’s Chef de Mission Nigel Avery.

Dame Sophie said it was important that the New Zealand team adhered to their own rules to ensure they are "COVID free".

"It is different here," said Dame Sophie.

"Europe and the UK in particular have eased their restrictions in terms of not wearing face masks.

"Our protocols are to be as safe as possible so we are practicing safety first and making sure that we wearing our masks and are social distancing.

"We want to make sure that we are a COVID free team when it comes to race day and we are not losing athletes due to COVID.

"I think we are doing a really great job and that’s the key thing."