Jacqueline Freney from Skennars Head has won bronze at the Paralympics in Beijing.
Jacqueline Freney from Skennars Head has won bronze at the Paralympics in Beijing. The Northern Star/Brenden Allen

Skennars Head's 'Little Mermaid' wins bronze

SHE'S been dubbed the 'Little Mermaid' by her parents and Skennars Head's Jacqueline Freney has lived up to that reputation by winning a medal in her first ever Paralympic swim.

Jacqueline, who learned to swim before she could walk, collected a bronze medal for Australia at Beijing after finishing third in the S8 100m freestyle final on Monday night.

The 16-year-old swam a great race but trailed behind first place-getter Jessica Long of the United States and silver medallist Heather Frederisen of Great Britain.

Jacqueline, who has cerebral palsy, moved through to the final after finishing first in her heat of the 100m freestyle in a time of 1min 09.92sec.

She swam faster again in the final, clocking 1min 08.56sec to reach the Paralympic medal dais at her first attempt.

Jacqueline was relaxed before the final even though she admitted her pre-race routine of listening to music was disrupted.

“I wasn't nervous at all,” she said.

“But while the others were listening to music (in the marshalling area) I left my iPod behind. So I just chilled out and relaxed.”

Whatever she did it worked and there is the promise of more medals to come.

Jacqueline is ranked No. 3 in the world for her three events at the Beijing Paralympics and still has two events to come including the 400m freestyle on Friday and the 50m freestyle on Sunday.



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