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City of Norwich Swimming Club’s Katie Nesbitt is on the road to Rio after impressing at Euros

City of Norwich Swimming Club's Katie Nesbitt witht he five medals she won at the Arena European Junior Swimming Championships in Holland.

City of Norwich Swimming Club's Katie Nesbitt witht he five medals she won at the Arena European Junior Swimming Championships in Holland.

Submitted

Dreams of competing in the Paralympics have been boosted for City of Norwich Swimming Club’s Katie Nesbitt.

The 15-year-old disability swimmer has returned from the Arena European Junior Swimming Championships in Dordrecht, Holland, with five medals.

Katie is on the World Class Podium Potential programme with British Swimming, categorised as an S14 disability swimmer, as she has a learning disability.

She swam five races and set five new personal best times, winning gold in the 100m freestyle, 100m butterfly, 100m backstroke, 50m freestyle and bronze in the 100m breaststroke.

The Lowestoft youngster is training hard in the hope of qualifying for the Rio 2016 Paralympics but her Podium programme is for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.

Katie finds school difficult because it’s hard for her to learn new concepts and retain what she learns, as she has autism spectrum disorder, epilepsy and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

That puts her in the same S14 category to City of Norwich SC’s Jessica-Jane Applegate, from Gorleston, who won 200m freestyle gold at the London 2012 Paralympics.

City of Norwich SC head coach, Alex Pinniger (pictured inset with Applegate), said: “I think Katie can make Rio. That’s two years away and we have seen a huge improvement over the last 12 months from Katie.

“She works very hard, she is very dedicated and disciplined. She’ll be 18 in 2016 so it’ll be the right time.

“Selection trials are three months out from Rio so she will have to place in the top two in her classification to be selected.”

Pinniger hopes Nesbitt can follow in the footsteps of her club-mate Applegate, who is 17 years old and has Asperger’s syndrome.

“It’s early days for Katie but I think for all our swimmers the goal is to win medals and to get to the top of the podium,” Pinniger added.

“That’s what we talk about, we are not frightened about it, we don’t go to events to make up the numbers , we go to win, so certainly we’ll be 
targeting that.”

Do you know someone with the potential to reach the top of their sport? Contact sports reporter David Freezer on 01603 772418 or david.freezer@archant.co.uk

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