YOUNG Wimborne para-swimmer Isabella Haynes is set to compete in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil later this summer after achieving domestic success.
Back in March the 14-year-old competed in the British para-swimming meet against para-swimming athletes from around the world and swimmers from the Para-Swimmer GBR Team.
Isabella qualified for four junior national finals over the course of four days gaining 8th place in the 100m breaststroke, 5th place in the 200m individual medal and a strong 4th place in the 100m freestyle.
But her best performance came in the 400m freestyle final where she took the title.
Isabella is a classification S9 swimmer – a through the knee amputee.
She said: “I am not sure why I Iove to swim but I think that swimming is something I excel at and that I can improve on over time.
“Swimming brings me purpose and fuels my competitive drive to win. I enjoy seeing my progress at the end of a meet and knowing that in that moment I was faster than I ever was before.
“In training what pushes me to commit to early mornings and the hard sessions is that this is a time to improve myself and my swimming.
“No matter how hard it is, I have to do it eventually – there are harder things to overcome in life and I can sleep as much as I want later.
“Swimming has given me unique feelings and emotions, moments when time just feels off/weird.
“Like waiting behind the block at an event, the whistle blowing and release of nervous energy when I hit the water. Nothing else feels like that.
“When swimming with Swim Bournemouth I feel equal and accepted as part of a bigger team.
“Swim Bournemouth allows me to dream big and pursue my dream of becoming a paralympic swimmer.”
Isabella has now been invited to ESSA England School’s Swimming Association team in the ISF U15 World School Games in Rio de Janeiro this August.
She said: “Competing as a para-swimmer means I get to go to competitions without other swimmers from Swim Bournemouth.
“It is good as I get to meet other para-swimmers and share their experiences. Competing in the big events has helped me mature and grow in confidence.
“I feel strong, capable and confident when I am in the water. The opportunity to go to Rio represents my next big step towards my dream of the Paralympics.
“This is my chance to travel abroad with a team of swimmers I haven’t met before and without my parents to hold my hand. It is a little scary but gaining the experience of travelling internationally is just amazing and I want to prove to myself that I can do it, that I am ready for the next challenge.”