Local swimmer off to Paralympics

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Penrith athlete, Kara Leo, has been named in the Australian team for the 2012 Paralympics.

Leo’s selection for the Paralympic Swimming Team was announced on Tuesday by the Australian Paralympic Committee in Canberra.

The announcement marked 50 days to go until the start of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. 19-year-old Leo, who has an intellectual disability, will be competing in her first ever Paralympic Games when it begins in London on August 29.

Leo has achieved impressive results in the lead-up to London 2012, winning a silver medal in the 200m freestyle at the 2010 International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Championships, the highlight of her career to date.

In 2011, Leo continued her fine form, winning three gold medals at the Global Games, as well as taking home two silver medals and one bronze at the 2011 Arafura Games.

Leo will be part of a 35-member swim squad and now completes the 2012 Australian Paralympic Team, bringing the total number of athletes selected to represent Australia to 161.

Having won 345 Paralympic medals in swimming since the sport was introduced at the first Paralympic Games in Rome 1960 – 101 gold, 133 silver and 120 bronze – swimming has become one of Australia’s most successful sports at the Paralympics.

Australian Paralympic Committee CEO and 2012 Team Chef de Mission, Jason Hellwig, believes the team selected for London will continue Australia’s proud tradition of success.

“Australians love watching Australians do well in the pool and London will be no different,” Mr Hellwig said.

“We are sending a strong swim team and although the competition for medals will be tougher than ever, I have no doubt that members of this team can make their presence felt.”

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