JACQUELINE Freney, from Lennox Head, was thrilled to be named Ballina Shire's Sportsperson of the Year at last week's Australia Day celebrations.
The Paralympics swimmer with cerebral palsy said "to be recognised by my own community is a humbling experience".
She said knowing her community was behind would boost her in her sporting goals.
She said her achievements were simply "one example of what a young person can do".
"Young people are our starts," she said.
Jacqueline is building up her collection of gold, silver and bronze medals in her sport.
And she has her sights set on the London Paralympics Games later this year.
Her career has been a "journey of highs and lows", but one in which she has gained some valuable life lessons.
"Swimming is my passion and has taught me to challenge myself," she said.
"My goal is to never give up."