Emily set to make a big splash

Pushing for the podium: Traralgon’s Emily Beecroft is determined to go one better after a fourth place finish at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. photograph wade brennan swimming australia

Zac Standish

TRARALGON swimming product Emily Beecroft is gearing up for her second trip to the Paralympic Games.

Currently up in Cairns taking part in the Paralympic swimming team’s pre-departure camp, the 21-year old is currently deep in the midst of her last minute training program as she hopes to reach the podium after a fourth place finish in the 50m S9 freestyle at the Rio 2016 Games.

Beecroft explained what she has been up to since she qualified for the team at the national swimming trials in Adelaide in June.

“It has been a really busy time since trials, I fortunately was able to get home for three weeks which was very nice and something I didn’t think I would have been able to do, and Victoria actually turned out to be the safest place for me at one point,” Beecroft told The Express.

“Then at the start of August we went up to Brisbane to have a bit of a mini-competition with the whole team and then from there I went down to the Sunshine Coast for another training camp before coming up to Cairns for the pre-departure camp where we will leave for Tokyo.”

She said it has been fantastic to get together as an entire team in Cairns, something they have not had the opportunity to do in recent times.

“It has been a really long time since the whole team has been together, so to see everyone in person and find out how they are going heading into the games has been really nice,” she said.

“The Australian team has been in Cairns for about five years now, so it is always lovely to come back to the great facilities here and the city itself is really lovely so I have taken a lot out of this little period.”

With the games less than a week away, Beecroft explained her mind set heading into the competition.

“I am just really excited to get over there and see what everything is like, it is obviously going to be a very different Paralympic Games but I am just so thankful for Japan and all of the organisers for getting the competition up and running,” she said.

“In terms of my events I am in a couple of relays which is really exciting as I haven’t been in any international relays yet, and we are in really good medal contention for those – I have also got the 100m freestyle individual event as well, and after coming fourth in Rio I am really excited to see how I go there.

“I am tracking along really nicely with my training and I have really high expectations on my performance, so my mind set is really just focused and ready to hit the pool in Tokyo.”

Having travelled to the Paralympic Games in 2016, she said she is going to be leaning heavily on her experiences in Rio as she embarks on a quest for an elusive medal in Tokyo.

“I really think my Rio experience will help into my Tokyo experience, just knowing what to expect with a Paralympics it has assisted my preparation coming into this meet greatly and I am not as nervous heading into competition,” she said.

“Obviously every Paralympics is different but I am really thankful I can lean on my time in Rio to guide me through this next exciting challenge.”

Watching the Australian Dolphins team perform so well at the Olympic Games is another source of inspiration for Beecroft and the rest of the Paralympic team, as they ride the wave of momentum surrounding swimming in the country at the moment.

“Our team did amazingly well, it was the most successful swim team at the Olympics for us ever, so to sit back and watch it was pretty incredible to see and has certainly gotten me inspired,” she said.

“Obviously our Paralympic team is part of that Dolphins team as well, so we are really looking forward to adding to that medal haul and impressing our fans back home.”

As her five year wait to once again hit the Paralympic pool again finally comes to a close, Beecroft outlined what she hopes to get out of the games.

“Ever since I started swimming I always said Tokyo was my number one goal, so going to these games is a major dream come true,” she said.

“With my races I just want to take everything and have fun with it, rather than focusing purely on my performance, obviously I want to do the best that I can in the pool and push myself as hard as I can, but at the end of the day I really just want to have a great time.”