Hannah aiming to take on worlds best in the pool
HANNAH ROSS email@example.com SILENCE is not an unusual sensation for swimmers. But, for 13-year-old Hannah Britton, of Goonellabah, the silence continues after she climbs from the pool. Hannah was born deaf and trains with five other deaf swimmers as part of the Lismore City's multi-disability swimming program. The teenager is making a big splash with her prowess in the pool. Already she is just 1.8 seconds off the qualifying time needed to compete at the 2009 Deaf Olympics in Taipei. Her coach, Rebecca Moore said Hannah would have no problem achieving the times needed to compete in Taipei. "Hannah is a natural swimmer, Ms Moore said. "She is very determined and motivated. I think she has the potential to go all the way to the Olympics, given the opportunity." Now that Hannah is a member of the deaf swimming squad, her chances of reaching her goals have increased greatly. The squad has a sign language teacher and Ms Moore is learning Auslan to better communicate with her swimmers. Hannah's training also includes a weekly gym session, a daily gym routine to do at home and a well-balanced diet prepared by a nutritionist. Hanna's mum, Catheryn said swimming had been great for her daughter. "Deaf people love sport because they can join in with everyone else," Mrs Britton said. "Swimming is great because it is silent, you don't have to listen to the referees and your team mates. In the pool you are just like everyone else." From Hannah's perspective, her disability barely rates in her quest to achieve her goals of making it to the School Sports Australia 2007 competition in Tasmania next month, the Australian Deaf Games in January and Taipei in 2009. "There is no difference for me being deaf and being a swimmer, but that is not why I like swimming," Hannah said. "I just love competing and I love the water. I remember in primary school winnning a race when I had never swum competitively before. I just thought 'wow' and my swimming went from there."