Swimmers Ellie Cole and Matt Haanappel are proof of the positive impact the Paralympics can have on young lives.MARC MCGOWAN February 20, 2013 4:05am
London Paralympics gold medallists Matt Haanappel (middle, blue shirt) and Ellie Cole (back, green shirt) visited Aquamoves on Monday night.
Swimmers Ellie Cole and Matt Haanappel are proof of the positive impact the Paralympics can have on young lives.
Cole, who had her right leg amputated at the age of three due to having a rare form of cancer called sarcoma, was just 16 when she went to the Beijing Games as a self-confessed ‘‘wide-eyed’’ teenager.
It was much the same for 18-year-old Croydon Hills resident Haanappel, who has cerebral palsy, when he experienced the Paralympics for the first time at London last year.
Frankston’s Cole — wiser for her debut — returned last year as a senior team member and added four gold and two bronze medals to the silver and two bronze she claimed at Beijing.
They took part in Goulburn Valley’s inter-district training at Shepparton’s Aquamoves on Monday night before speaking to the swimmers about their experiences.
‘‘There’s a quote I’ve always lived by: ‘It’s better to get a sore neck from aiming too high than a hunchback from aiming too low’,’’ Cole said.
‘‘Something that’s been really important to me in my career is goal-setting. You should have big goals, but keep them realistic.
‘‘That’s definitely the advice I would give. Just don’t go with the flow, actually have goals and dreams and things to strive for.’’
Cole, the Sarah-Grace Sarcoma Foundation patron, spent the three years leading into the London Games training at Australian Institute of Sport’s Canberra base.
‘‘I went to London with a lot more experience under my belt, a bit more determination and a bit more race tactics,’’ she said.
‘‘The games wasn’t such a shock to me the second time around.’’
Haanappel was unable to quite describe the ‘‘amazing experience’’ he had at London, where he was a heat swimmer for Australia’s gold medal-winning 4
‘‘To be in front of 10
‘‘It was my first experience at Paralympic level or a major level of competition and what other 18-year-olds are doing stuff like that?
‘‘It was a life lesson for me, not just for my swimming. I’ve come back and been able to teach the other Year 12 students in my cohort that there are other things out there in life.’’
Haanappel, who swims for Diamond Valley-Eltham Aquatic, trained up to 20 hours a week to qualify for London.
He set high goals, just like Kings Swimming Club member Cole, and put his Year 12 studies on hold until this year to achieve his Paralympic dream.
‘‘To get out there and get the boys into the final was a massive learning experience for me,’’ Haanappel said.
‘‘To be there and selected not only in the Australian Paralympic team, but an Australian relay at my age and classification — S6 — it has never been done before.
‘‘It was an honour to be part of those relays.’’
The sky is the limit for Wanganui Year 12 VCAL student Leigh Polan, 18, who decided to create two posters examining birdlife around the school.
The under 16 Pigeons kick started the YFNC's finals campaign with a resounding victory over the Paul Spargo led Scots College in the Grand Final of the AWJFL Elwyn Langford Shield at the Albury Sports Ground on Sunday.
Greater Shepparton City Council was successful in securing the National Cutting Horse Association Victorian Futurity Cutting Horse Championships for 2014 and 2015, with this year’s event scheduled from September 10-14 at Tatura Park.
An ad for the Healthy Ageing Project will be filmed in Echuca, Rushworth and Rochester today.
More than $15,000 was raised at a family day on Sunday. The event was to raise money for the families of Barry Purtell and Dave Lobb.
Book Week gets colourful turnout.
Deaprtment of Environment and Primary Industries unhappy about Mt Disappointment vandals.
Jerilderie Shire deputy mayor Ruth McRae handed the key over for the new Rural Fire Service station last Friday.
Farmers have a new weapon in the fight against mice.
Cobram kids learn about health with hospital as state-wide obesity campaign is launched.
History is recorded to inspire the next generation, author John Northage said at the launch of, Mending the Goulburn Broken, in Shepparton last week.
A few anxious customers were outside the closed gates of the failed Bee-Jay Machinery business on Goulburn Valley Hwy in Shepparton on Tuesday morning, wondering what would become of deposits they had paid for tractors and other machinery.
The Benalla Indian Myna Action Group will pay a $1 per bird bounty on live birds delivered to CAL farm. National Party MP Bill Sykes donated $100 to fund the bounty.
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