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‘I feared Olympic legacy would be forgotten in a year’, admits Newham-born Paralympic swimmer

11:19 03 March 2014

Paralympic swimmer Amy Marren by the competition pool at the London Aquatics Centre

Paralympic swimmer Amy Marren by the competition pool at the London Aquatics Centre

Archant

Team GB Paralympian Amy Marren admits her biggest fear after London 2012 was that its legacy would be forgotten within a year.

Amy Marren in action at her local pool in RomfordAmy Marren in action at her local pool in Romford

But the teenage swimmer said the London Aquatics Centre, where she competed as a finalist last summer aged just 14, was “certainly living up to expectations” as it opened to the public on Saturday (March 1).

Born in Newham, Amy started swimming early on despite being born without a right hand — a quirk of nature that doctors have been unable to explain.

It was when she was 10 that Amy saw a 13-year-old Ellie Simmonds win gold at the Beijing Games in 2008 and was inspired to compete at London.

“I would say my biggest fear after London was everything that had been done would be forgotten in a year, but to come here and hear about all the programmes they have got, I definitely think the legacy is going to continue,” she said.

Amy Marren in her Team GB tracksuitAmy Marren in her Team GB tracksuit

“It’s giving normal people the chance to compete where Olympians competed.”

After winning gold at the world championships last year, she hopes to train at the aquatics centre and focus on aiming for a medal at Rio in two years time.

She described swimming at the Paralympics as “probably the best experience of my life,” adding: “It was phenomenal, amazing.”

She said she was taken aback by the centre’s size when she saw it for the first time at a training session in the run-up to the Games.

Though she said she was sad to not see it with extra seats and flags running across the ceiling in its new form, the memories the venue evokes are unaltered.

“I remember sitting here with the best athletes in the world going to the Olympic Games. Even now, that seems so strange to say.”

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