Paralympian swimmer Kayla Clarke.
Paralympian swimmer Kayla Clarke. Claudia Baxter

Paralympian Clarke back in groove for busy program

Kayla Clarke
Kayla Clarke Claudia Baxter

IF Ipswich swimmer Kayla Clarke needed any extra motivation to keep training this week, she only had to look back to the London Paralympics.

Her two fourths and a sixth at her first Paralympics in September made her hungry to compete again in Rio in 2016.

Clarke's coach Rick Van Der Zant said her commitment to the pool has been first class since she had a break following the London Games.

"She's definitely developed a confidence and she wants to try a few new things," Van Der Zant said.

"She's trying her luck at open water swimming and having a go at some different events.

"Unfortunately at the Paralympics in her class, she can only compete in three events but in other competitions she can compete in everything else.

She's trying her hand at the longer races, the 400m medley, the 200m fly and she's going to the open water nationals in February.

The Yeronga Park coach said his 21-year-old charge was also focused on the national titles in Adelaide in April.

Australia's team for the world titles in Canada later this year will be chosen from the championships.

In London, Silkstone-based Clarke came fourth in the SB14 100m breaststroke and 200m freestyle finals. Her sixth was in the 100m backstroke.

Back in full training, Clarke won five gold and a silver medal at last week's state titles at Chandler.

She was awarded female multi-class swimmer of the meet.

Clarke again showed her versatility across the strokes and in the 200m medley.

A highlight was breaking the Australian record in the 100m butterfly.

Before the national titles, Clarke will join the Yeronga Park squad contesting the Victorian Open Championships in Melbourne from January 10-12.

Typical of her dedication, Clarke trained on Boxing Day.

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