Beecroft buzzing for Paralympics

Traralgon Paralympian Emily Beecroft has flown to the United States for a training camp ahead of the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The 16 year-old will represent Australia in a number of events including the 200-metre individual medley, 50m freestyle and 100m freestyle in the S9 category at the games which begin on 7 September.

The Traralgon swimmer departed Monday with her Australian teammates and will spend the next two weeks in Alabama preparing for the games.

Speaking to The Express before her departure, Beecroft said she was trying to stay relaxed ahead of the event.

“I’m sure I’ll get more nervous as the time comes on,” she said.

“I’ve done a few international meets, but this one of course is a lot bigger.”

It’s been a good year for Beecroft, who claimed the gold medal in the 50m butterfly and silver in the 50m freestyle at the Victorian Open Championships.

At the meet she qualified for the Paralympics with her time of 30.03 seconds in the 50m freestyle.

She was also named multi-class swimmer of the meet for her performance.

Despite the swag of medals on offer, Beecroft said she’s focusing on her times.

Obviously the coaches just like to keep us focused on our times, not so much on the medals,” she said.

“But obviously (my goal is to) try and make the final in all of my events and get good times.”

Beecroft has received strong support from friends and family in the lead-up to the games, with the Lavalla Catholic College student the guest of honour at a recent school assembly.

“I’ve had so much support. Obviously we’re a bit of a small town, so the support’s been humongous,” she said.

“My family’s been a big role in where I am today and my coach Dean Gooch, he’s really great. He’s got me where I am today.”

Qualifying for the Paralympics is a dream come true in more ways than one for Beecroft, who will compete alongside her idol, Paralympic gold medallist Ellie Cole.

“It’s very surreal. I used to research Ellie all the time when I was little because she was so amazing,” she said.

“She’s really funny, she’s quite relaxed, which is so surprising because she’s a world champion – (she’s) very welcoming as well.”

The 2016 Paralympics will be held in Rio de Janeiro from 7 to 18 September.