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Swimmer bound for the big time

2.4 from 8 votes
Tuesday, February 23, 2010

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Clinical Trials

GOODNA -- Swimmer Elle Mills, robbed of her sight but not her sporting vision, has qualified for the Australian National Championships in Sydney next month.

Success at the championships will bring the Tony Keogh-coached Mills one step closer to realising her dream of competing in the 2012 Paralympic Games in London.

Mills qualified for the national titles after posting a time of 46.95 in the 50m breaststroke at the Queensland State Sprint Championships this month.

The 14-year-old has dreamt of being a Paralympian since she ignored misfortune when doctors confirmed she suffered from Leber’s disease, a genetic condition that has blinded bother and her two older brothers.

Mills holds 21 national records and is the sixth fastest competitor in the world for the 100m backstroke in the S-12 category. However, it is the first time she has qualified for the open event.

``My motivation comes from my brother Jonathon - he is a runner and he’s already been to one Paralympics and I just want to be standing side by side up that walkway with him, walking into the Paralympics,’’ Mills said.

Now 23, Jonathon is now in training in the hope of qualifying in the 100m sprint at the 2012 games.

Should Mills fulfil her goal, the humble Kenmore Hills teenager will also deliver the perfect present for her mum.

``I think that would be the pinnacle of everything I have worked towards - having two of my children at the Paralympics,’’ Karen Bernard-Mills said.

``As soon as she knew this (Lebers disease) was happening, she said `okay this is what I’m going to do’ and she turned it into a positive.

``And she is not seeing it as a deterrent at this point in her life.’’

The Centenary State High School student trains seven times a week under the guidance of Keogh at the Goodna Aquatic Centre and is also coached by former Commonwealth Games representative Jen Thomasson, who had never worked with disabled athlete prior to mentoring Elle.

``When I first saw her, I thought what have got myself into because she had never been taught properly, but very quickly I saw that she was very intelligent and had a natural feel for the water,’’ she said.

``Sometimes I have to get her out of the water now and show her but most of the time I can just describe it through words.’’


© 2010 News Community Media

Author: By Matt Johnston
Source: South-West News
2.4 from 8 votes
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