Simmonds to look past swimming 2012 trials in London pool
ELLIE Simmonds admits she wishes the Paralympic trials weren't held in the London 2012 pool - but that won't stop the two-time Games champion from laying down a marker ahead of this summer.
LENDING A HAND: Double Paralympic champion Eleanor Simmonds has given her support to British Swimming's Big Splash
The 17-year-old has just one thing on her mind as the calendar flips over to 2012, March's British Gas Swimming Championships, which take place at the London Aquatics Centre.
Simmonds shot to fame nearly four years ago at the Beijing Paralympics but didn't get the chance to test the Far East waters until the Games actually got underway.
And she clearly revelled in that as she stormed to 100m and 400m freestyle gold, becoming one of the faces for London 2012 in the process.
But it is all change this year as she will get a taste of things to come in less than two months time, and although Simmonds wishes this wasn't the case, she insists it won't get in her way of sparking her Paralympic assault into life.
"When I got told that the trials were going to be in the Paralympic pool I had mixed feelings," said Simmonds. "Obviously it is going to be exciting as it is the London 2012 venue.
"But I would prefer that it was kept solely for the Olympics and Paralympics itself. I remember when I first competed in the Beijing pool I just looked around and thought to myself ‘oh my gosh' as it was just amazing.
"And I would have liked to have that feeling again, especially since it is a home Games, but that won't happen now as I will have already swam there in an intense environment with the trials in March.
"It is a shame I think but I suppose it is nice to get a bit of practice and to see what the pool is like, just to avoid any surprises when it really matters.
"Plus I have to actually qualify first before I can think of even competing at London 2012 so I am taking nothing for granted and will go out there in March to try and start as I mean to go on.
"Even though people are talking about me as a medal hope for the British team I don't want to get ahead of myself by any means.
"If you do that or start thinking too far ahead then you could take your eye off the ball and be in a bit of trouble - and I am taking nothing for granted with it being the biggest competition of my lifetime."
Simmonds is not your ordinary teenager with a whole host of Paralympic and world titles to her name, not to mention an MBE.
But the one thing she feels most relieved to have is the chance to compete at a home Games, something she isn't about to let pass her by.
"Just competing at a home Paralympics is amazing and I feel very privileged to get the opportunity to do so as a teenager," she added.
"London will probably never host the Games while I am swimming so I intend to make the most of it and am just so glad that I can.
"It is a once in a lifetime thing and to think I will have my country watching on as I go for golds fills me with such an adrenaline rush.
"I know it will add a lot of pressure on me too but I am actually looking forward to that as I tend to thrive under pressure so hopefully it can work to my advantage."
British Swimming's Big Splash campaign is supported by principal partner British Gas, and supporting partners Kellogg's and Speedo. For more information on great swimming activities and offers visit www.bigsplash.co.uk
© Sportsbeat 2012