WITH 2012 just around the corner, two of Kirkby’s Paralympic hopefuls are busy preparing to make waves for Britain at next year’s Games.
Sam and Oliver Hynd both hope to represent their nation at the London Paralympics, with both brothers under very different pressures to achieve success.
As part of their build-up to what the duo hope will be eventual Paralympic glory, the Hynd brothers were part of 200 disabled athletes who competed in the Nationwide Short Course Swimming Championships over the 26th and 27th November.
It was a particularly memorable event for on-form Ollie, who set a new European record in the 200m IM with a time of 2min 26.45 seconds - an honour previously held by Sam.
The event is a vital part of the Paralympic preparations with the selection trials to decide the final GB squad just three months away.
Second-born Ollie is bidding for his first Paralympics medals having claimed two medals at July’s European Swimming Championships in Berlin.
And the 17-year-old is relishing the prospect of representing Team GB on British soil but knows he has a long way to go yet before achieving his dream.
“My biggest goal is to make the team,” he said.
“We’ve got long term goals but there’s a lot of stepping stones to get there.
Just making the team would be a dream come true.”
Big brother Sam (20) realised that dream in Beijing three years ago when he smashed the world record and won gold in the S8 400m freestyle. But, despite being the reigning Paralympic and European champion, he’s not taking a team berth for granted.
“There are absolutely no guarantees and it all hinges on the trials,” he said. “But it’s a very exciting position to be in.”
After his experiences in 2008, there’s no doubt he would love a repeat in London.
“The biggest thing for me is that all my friends and family can see me participate in such a big event,” he added. “To know that everybody would be so close is a wonderful thing.”
For mum Helen, seeing her boys competing to win Paralympic gold is a very proud moment.
“It’s quite nerve-wracking as a parent to watch them, but at the same time I’m really proud of what they’re doing,” she said.
Helen has been backing her boys since their earliest days in the pool at Sutton Swimming Club and has given up a great deal of time and money to help them pursue their dreams.
Despite the brothers being diagnosed a few years ago with neuromuscular myopathy – a condition affecting their lower body strength – she says it has never held them back.
“Just seeing them doing what they’re doing is remarkable,” she said.
“I’m very proud that they’re seeing beyond their disability. It’s like Ollie says – ‘it’s about ability, not disability’.”
Coach Glenn Smith is certainly satisfied with progress.
In his 16 years with Nova Centurion – the county’s elite swimming club – he’s worked with the likes of Mansfield’s double Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington as well as coaching Sam to his medal in Beijing.
Now the 46-year-old is targeting similar success with record-breaking Ollie.
“We knew he was swimming well, but not that well.” said Glenn.
Much like his athletes however, he knows there is a long way to go before London 2012.
“We’re not even thinking beyond March,” he said. “We’ve got to qualify for the team.
“This is just one step towards those trials. But with how things have gone today, I’m pretty happy.”
But, despite their fierce rivalry in the pool, the brothers know they will need to support each other if they are to meet again in London next year.
“We both just want the best for each other,” said Sam. “We might race each other, but at the end of the day, I’m happy for what Ollie’s doing and I’m sure he feels the same way.”
Said Ollie. “We’ve got a really good relationship so we can just talk about how we’re feeling,
“It’s really nice to be able to do that.
“Seeing Sam achieve what he has is only motivation. He’s an inspiration.”