Jacquelines a world-beater
By ADAM HICKS firstname.lastname@example.org FIFTEEN-year-old Skennars Head schoolgirl Jacqueline Freney has pulled off a major upset to beat the world's best Paralympic swimmers at a Beijing lead-up event.
Jacqueline upstaged her idol Jessica Long world champion, multi-Paralympic gold medallist and holder of 13 world records to win the 50m freestyle S8 category at the US Open Paralympic Championships in Baltimore at the weekend.
The cerebral palsy sufferer was the star Australian swimmer at the meet winning five freestyle gold medals 50, 200, 400, 800 and 1500m and setting four Australian open records.
The performance sees Jacqueline rise to number two in the world rankings for all freestyle distances, and is a huge boost leading into the Australian Paralympic team trials in March.
Proud mum Joanne said her swim was unbelievable. "Jacqueline went into the final of the 50m as the fastest qualifier following an un-%believable heat swim," she%said. "She expected Long to come back at her in the finals, but Jacqueline managed to hold her off with a close finish.
"Jessica Long is an idol to Jacqueline and she is ecstatic to have twice swum faster.
"This international meet has been a remarkable experience for Jacqueline and she has swum way beyond anyone's expectations."
The US championships were touted as the prime meet to expose young talent to world-class competition in preparation for Beijing.
"It is pretty amazing. She's always had the dream she wanted to go to Beijing (Paralympics) and represent Australia," Joanne said.
Although her family run the Casino Olympic Swimming Pool, the tenacious Xavier Catholic College student trains at the Lennox Head Sport and Recreation Centre nine times a week.
Jacqueline returns to Australia this week where she will take a well-earned rest before heading back to the pool to prepare for the Australian Open Championships.