Mansfield Paralympic swimstar Charlotte Henshaw aims for gold glory

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MANSFIELD swimmer Charlotte Henshaw is only missing a Paralympic medal from her glittering CV and the 25-year-old has vowed to put that right at London 2012.

Henshaw, who will compete in the 100m freestyle and 100m breaststroke in the capital, finished fourth in the latter on her Paralympic debut in Beijing four years ago.

However, she has medalled at every major championships since, amounting to European gold in 2009 and silver in 2011 and another silver at the World Championships in between.

Henshaw has also won gold at the Paralympic World Cup on three occasions and so should she medal at London 2012 she would complete her international set.

And, with a home crowd to roar her on, Henshaw is adamant that will prove the difference in her bid to reach the Paralympic podium in the capital.

“I’m so excited. I think it’s only just sinking in that I’m going to be competing at a home Games,” said Henshaw. “There’s been so much talk about it, but now it’s actually so close to happening.

“We did our trials in the Aquatics Centre, so we have already had a chance to look around. It looks like an amazing venue, and I can’t wait to compete there again.

“We have got a really close team, which will help us, and we have got a policy where all the swimmers will go to support the others in the heats and finals.

“We pride ourselves on our team spirit, and that’s one of the keys to our success. Obviously I would love to win gold, and it’s not something that’s unachievable, but I just want to go out and swim the best I can.”

Given her record since Beijing 2008, Henshaw will be expected to earn at least one of the 103 minimum medals the whole British team have been tasked with winning at the Paralympics.

And, with London 2012 set to be the first ever Games to sell out as well, Henshaw admits that every training session is all the more motivated as a result.

“There’s just a real buzz about everything we do at the moment,” she added. “All the training sessions, workouts and events – it’s all so exciting.

“People are just 10 times more motivated to be on the team this year than in the past. There are going to be thousands of people we have never met cheering for us. It will be incredible.

“We are one of the Paralympic sports which actually gets quite a lot of coverage because we have been so successful, and we are in a really good position to push the sport on this time around.”

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