CHARLOTTE Henshaw’s three-way tussle for 100m breaststroke supremacy is set for another twist at the BT Paralympic World Cup – and the Mansfield swimmer is relishing the battle.
The 24-year-old has had her fair share of ups and downs so far in her career, as she slugs it out with fellow Brit Liz Johnson and American Mallory Weggemann for top spot.
She picked herself up from just missing out on a medal in fourth at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics by claiming European gold in 2009 and world silver a year later, behind number-one ranked Weggemann in Eindhoven.
Henshaw also ruled the roost at the 2010 BT Paralympic World Cup and the Nova Centurion is hoping for a repeat performance this year to put herself top of the pile a year away from London 2012.
“It is always difficult when you are training hard, because you might feel good but you have nothing to compare against,” she said.
“But the Paralympic World Cup is a great opportunity to do just that
“And it is always good to swim against new people that you will be challenging against at London 2012, but as always I look forward to racing against Liz and Mallory.
“We are the top three in the world and it is exciting for people in England to come and watch it and it is exciting for me to test myself against them.
“I really enjoy racing them and I relish the challenge and think it brings the best out of me.
“It is always nice to race the best in the world and at the moment Mallory is number one so I want to test myself against her and see where I am.
“And me and Liz always have good rivalries and good races when we swim against each other and it is always fun racing her, so that adds to it too.”
Henshaw will be the first to admit that July’s European Championships is the main target for 2011 as she looks to defend her crown in Berlin.
But with an anxious home crowd watching on at the Manchester Aquatics Centre, Henshaw is not about to take it easy and is keen to put on a good show to whet the London 2012 appetite.
“I am really looking forward to the BT Paralympic World Cup,” she added. “It’s a great competition and it is not often you get the opportunity to test yourself against your international rivals in front of a home crowd.
“Home support is going to play a big part in our sport over the next year with London 2012, so it will be nice to get a little taste of that.
“It will be nice to show everyone what I can do and get people thinking about what I can do at London 2012 and it starts now really.”
The BT Paralympic World Cup is now taking place in Manchester until May28, with elite international athletes competing in swimming, athletics and wheelchair basketball. Go to www.btparalympicworldcup.com for tickets and more informationTags: Charlotte Henshaw, Liz Johnson, London 2012, Mallory Weggemann, Manchester Aquatics Centre, Paralympic World Cup, Paralympics