London calling Kayla Clarke

KAYLA Clarke knows what it’s like to compete on the international stage, having already represented Australia overseas.

She’s impressed at the Global Games, International Paralympic Committee world championships and been selected in a national All Star team.

However, Clarke’s latest Australian team selection could be her most valuable stepping stone yet.

The dedicated Woogaroo Swimming Club competitor has been chosen on her first national team for the Para Pan Pacific championships in Edmonton, Canada, in August.

However, just as important, is that Clarke’s deserved recognition keeps her on course for next year’s London Paralympics.

Clarke won six of her seven multi-class events at the recent Australian open championships in Sydney, continuing her impressive progress through paralympic competition ranks.

For coach Tony Keogh, Clarke’s consistent performances are no surprise, given her hard work and commitment to training.

“I’m delighted. You couldn’t ask for a better performance,” Keogh said.

“They were all personal-best swims and phenomenally fast. Four of them were less than a second off world records.”

Keogh, who has been coaching Clarke for more than three years, was also chosen as a coach to assist the national team from August 10-14.

However, he preferred to focus on Clarke’s latest achievement, which included wins in the 100m freestyle, 100m backstroke, 100m breaststroke, 100m butterfly and 200m individual medley.

“She’s on the shadow team for London,” Keogh said.

“Subject to maintaining performance in Sydney at the next national open championships (March 2012), she’s on the London team.”

Clarke, 19, is also now in the Queensland Academy of Sport and Australian Institute of Sport programs.

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