Battle of Britton
By STEVE SPINKS
WHEN you're a deaf swimmer there is a myriad of ways a race is started.
Flashing lights in the water, a tap on the leg or a very loud hooter are all different starting techniques.
But Goonellabah's Hannah Britton never expected a push in the back.
Britton reached the pinnacle of her short swimming career recently when she was selected to compete at the 7th Pacific Nations School Games in Melbourne from November 26.
She did so by winning gold in the 50m backstroke and 50m breaststroke and silver in the 50m freestyle at the recent NSW PSSA Championships in Sydney.
Luckily, the 11-year-old didn't have a certain teacher from her school push her in the back in an attempt to give her a flying start.
"If you get pushed you fall," Britton chuckled.
"It's happened to me once at a school carnival.
"I was pushed and I fell in and I had to get up and swim."
The Lismore Public School student will compete in the multi-disability events in Melbourne.
Britton was born deaf, but that hasn't stopped her swimming career.
Her parents, Lloyd and Katie, were both keen swimmers, although they concede they were never as fast as their daughter.
Britton was introduced to the water as a six-month-old baby, but she didn't start swimming training until she was eight.
"I went in the school swimming carnival for fun," she said.
"And I kept winning all my races."
Now Britton is a permanent member of the Lismore Indoor Swim Team based at the Summit Sports and Fitness Centre, Goonellabah, and her aim is to compete at the next Deaf Olympics in 2009.
"We went down to watch the Deaf Olympic Games in Melbourne in January," Mrs Britton said.
"She was too young to compete this year, but she was so excited watching.
The Pacific Nations School Games are held every four years in conjunction with the Commonwealth Games.
More than 3000 athletes will compete in the nine-day event.
Britton will be one of the youngest competitors.
She'll also get to use the light in the water as a starting technique at the Melbourne Vic Centre.
It's better than a push in the back.
n THE cost of getting Hannah to Melbourne in considerable.
The Britton family will be doing plenty of fundraising over the next few months.
Already the Quota Club of Alstonville has donated $300 to the cause.
If anyone would like to help contact the Summit Sports and Fitness Centre on 6625 2025.