The World Para Swimming Allianz European Championships get underway at the National Aquatic Centre on Monday 13th August.
Ireland will have eight athletes representing their country with pride at this event and in the build-up to this much-anticipated championship, we will be profiling each of the members of Team Ireland.
Next up is Ailbhe Kelly who hails from Castleknock in Dublin. The 19-year-old is currently studying European Studies in Trinity College. Kelly has represented Ireland at a host of international events including European Championships, World Championships and the Rio Paralympics.
The upcoming European Championships will be special for Kelly as she is a member of the NAC swimming club who swim out of the National Aquatic Centre.
Kelly was born with arthrogryposis which caused a lack of muscle growth in her legs and she spends most of the time in a wheelchair. She will compete in the S8 classification in four events. Her favourite event, the 100m backstroke will take place on Thursday, August 16th, while her main event, the 400m freestyle, is on Tuesday, August 14th.
Ahead of the European Championships next week, Kelly spoke about the upcoming opportunity to show the Irish public that Paralympic sport is an elite sport and at the same level of Olympic sport.
“It’s the first time we ever had a major international Para competition in Ireland,” Kelly said.
“It’s our opportunity to show everyone what Paralympic sport is, more specifically Para swimming, what we’re able to do and show off to Ireland that Paralympic sport is elite sport and it’s at the same level as Olympic sport.”
You can watch our full interview with Kelly below: