Skennars Head swimmer Jacqueline Freney has qualified as a member of the Australian Paralympic team to compete at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games.

Jacqueline secured her position in the team after competing at the Telstra Australian Open Swimming Championships and placing second in the Women’s Open 50m freestyle and fourth in the Women’s Open 100m freestyle mulitidisability.

Jacqueline has lived in Casino most of her life before recently moving to Skennars Head.

She has been competing at local Far North Coast Swimming carnivals since she was six years old.

“It was great competing at these selection trials,” Jacqueline said.

“The crowd was awesome and the finals were electric, especially when world records were set.

“I am relieved and so so happy that I have been selected on the team. It has been my dream since I was a little girl to go to the Paralympics and my dad/swim coach Michael Freney and I have worked hard together for four years to achieve that.

“I hope I can inspire other disabled kids to get involved in sports and have a go because we can achieve great things.”

Jacqueline would like to thank her family, friends and the Casino/Ballina communities for all their support and encouragement, throughout her swimming career.

“I would also like to congratulate my Aqua Z Swimming Clubmate Keaton Simpson for qualifying in the final of the Women’s Open 50m breaststroke at the Australian Open, a huge achievement,” she said.

The 2008 Australian Paralympic Team is the largest team ever, with a total of 34 swimmers.

In the lead-up to the Paralympic Games, the Australian Paralympic team will be competing at two Grand Prix meets, the first in Canberra and the second in Sydney and finally an overseas staging camp at Kaula Lumpur prior to the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games.