Triple Paralympic medallist Jacqueline Freney, of Skennars Head, arrived home from Beijing very happy and content with her achievements, knowing she gave her all and did her best.
“I am so so proud of Jacqueline,” said her mother Joanne. “She showed such courage, determination and perseverance. She’s a real little Aussie battler.
“At the start of her races, she was so pumped to do her best.
“Her races were really tough and she had to fight with everything she had.
“The Paralympic swimming at Beijing was truly wonderful. To watch swimmers challenge their disabilities, push the boundaries and achieve the unthinkable was just so inspiring.”
Jacqueline swam personal bests to claim bronze medals in each of her entered events (50m, 100m and 400m freestyle).
In the 100m freestyle, Jacqueline hit the 50m mark first and came home hard to be pipped out of second place on the wall.
“Jacqueline’s 400m freestyle time of 4:57 was truly unbelieveable, a 14-second personal best time, breaking the Paralympic record in the heats and also smashing the Australian record, previously set by Paralympic great Priya Cooper,” Joanne said.
“The women’s S8 classification is a very strong class and their times are comparible to the S10 classification.
“USA’s superstar Jessica Long is pushing the world standards to the impossible but Heather Frederiksen of Great Britian and Jacqui are challenging her and leaving the rest of the field in their wake.”
Jacqueline said: “The Paralympic Games has been the greatest experience of my life.”
After spending only one night home with her family at Skennars Head, Jacqueline then jumped back on to another flight to Melbourne for the Australian Short Course Swimming Championships.
Jacqueline competed in the 50m and 100m Freestyle Multidisability.
Other Paralympic medalists accompanying Jacqueline at the meet were Matthew Cowdrey and female Paralympians Prue Watt, Sarah Bowen, Samantha Gandolfo, Teigan Van Roosmalen, Shelley Rogers and Hannah McDougall.
Jacqueline broke the provisional World Short Course Record at the Championships in the 100m freestyle in a time of 1:08.57, winning the gold medal from Nerice Holland (Qld) and Prue Watt (Vic).
Following the presentation Jacqueline was interviewed by Brooke Hansen and Jacqueline said: “I was very weary during the morning heat swims, due to jet lag, but I’ve managed to perk up during the finals to pull out a personal best.
“I knew I had to do something special in the finals if I was to place. There are lots of Paralympians here who could knock me out of the medals if I’m not swimming at my best.”
The following evening Jacqueline again won the gold medal in the 50m Freestyle Open Multidisability in a time of 32.28.
“After the Beijing Paralympics, the Australian Swimming Championships seems very relaxed and low-key, but I’ve enjoyed racing, signing autographs with Matt and catching up with friends,” she said.
Jacqueline is currently easing back into training at the Lennox Aquatic Swim Centre.
Jacqueline would like to thank her family, friends, the Casino community, Xavier Catholic College Skennars Head, Aqua Z Swim Club Lennox Head and everyone who sent cards, hero faxes and letters of support, for their encouragement.