Born in Christchurch to Gary and Jo Pascoe, Sophie grew up on a lifestyle block near Halswell on the south-western outskirts of the city. In 1995 at age 2, Pascoe was accidentally run over by her father on the family ride-on lawnmower, resulting in both her legs being caught under the cutter deck housing in the path of the rotating mower blades. As a result of the accident, her left leg was to be amputated below the knee, while the rear of her right leg was left with severe scarring. She attended Halswell Primary School, and Lincoln High School in the nearby Christchurch satellite town of Lincoln.
Pascoe began swimming at age 7. She is coached by Roly Critchon, and trains at the QEII swim club, which has been based at Jellie Park in Burnside since the facilities at Queen Elizabeth II Park were damaged in the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.
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