The youngest member of the Paralympic swim team, 15-year-old Isabella “Izzy” Vincent (S7), is about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime as she heads to her first Paralympic Games.
The Norwood swimmer, whose idol is Paralympic legend Kurt Fearnley, will fly to Tokyo in August, marking her first international competition since taking up swimming four years ago.
Vincent’s hard work and early morning trainings are paying off after qualifying for multiple S7 freestyle and backstroke events at the Australian Swimming Trials in Adelaide.
“When I look back on it (training), it doesn’t feel like it’s as much as it felt like at the time, because it’s just gone so fast, but my coach is really good, I do try really hard,” she said.
Qualifying in the 100m free (S7) and the 200m individual medley (SM7), Vincent’s swimming journey hasn’t come easily. She’s overcoming adversity, tackling multiple challenges – but she’s come out stronger for the experiences.
“Around four years ago, I had an operation on my feet,” she said.
“I discovered Norwood Swim Club had an ENable swim program, so I joined that and it just kind of just escalated form there. When I was really young swimming made me really happy, so I was really glad to get back in the water.”
Vincent’s talents also extend to wheelchair basketball, a sport she found through para swimming.
“I am now involved in wheelchair basketball as well and I found that through swimming,” she said.
“Once I find one sport that’s inclusive in that way, you can find so many more sports and that’s why I really want people to find sports so it can lead to others joining too.”
The team environment is one that is new to Izzy and one that she is enjoying. Learning from the likes of experienced Paralympians, Ellie Cole and Brenden Hall, Izzy believes she has learnt new and valuable skills from seeing them train.
“I really like the team environment. It takes me a while to speak up, but everyone talks to everyone, and everyone is so encouraging and genuine,” she said.
“I love watching them (Paralympians), they look so strong. It’s really inspiring.
“Getting in the water is different for everyone. We are all different and managing our own things so it’s cool to see people asking for help if they need it.”
With only a few weeks left until Vincent leaves for her maiden Paralympics, the young swimmer is diving into a pool of excitement.
Good luck in Tokyo, Izzy!