Amy never gave up on dream

Gold Coast-based Amy Levings, 20, made a strong start to her bid to qualify for the London Olympics by yesterday progressing to the women’s 400m individual medley final.
Gold Coast-based Amy Levings, 20, made a strong start to her bid to qualify for the London Olympics by yesterday progressing to the women’s 400m individual medley final. Radke Brendan The Gold Coast Bulletin

FORMER Bundaberg swimmer Amy Levings never gave up on her Olympic dream despite having her world turned upside down when she was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 14.

A bit over five years on, Levings is within reach of her goal and she had her first shot at a place in the team for London when she contested the women's 400m individual medley final at the Olympic swimming trials in Adelaide last night.

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She qualified for the final in third position behind Blair Evans and Samantha Hamill but in front of superstar Stephanie Rice with a personal best time of 4:44 in the heats yesterday morning.

Levings was not able to be contacted yesterday but speaking from Adelaide, her mother Cathy said Amy knew she would have to go faster in the final, having to finish at least second and also record an A-qualifying time to make the team for any one event.

"But she thinks she had at least another two seconds in her in the freestyle leg and her aim is to go under 4:40," Mrs Levings said.

Regardless of whether she qualifies for London, Levings has proven what can be achieved through courage, determination and hard work since being diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma in her hip in late 2006, having surgery to remove part of the bone, and enduring 14 rounds of chemotherapy.

After being out of the water for a year, the former Bundaberg Across The Waves club sensation resumed training with the Miami club on the Gold Coast under coaching guru Denis

Cotterell, and her mother said she had always chased her Olympic dream.

"Amy always wanted to make the Australian team - she has had a few obstacles but she has never lost sight of that, and even making an Australian final ahead of the world record holder is a massive achievement and we are so proud of her," she said.

Even if she missed the Olympic cut last night, Mrs Levings said Amy could still qualify in any of her four other main events she would contest at the trials - 400m freestyle, 200m IM, 200m freestyle and 200m butterfly - and that she would also compete in the 50m and 100m freestyle.

Amy's younger brother Matthew, 18, who claimed bronze in the men's 800m at last year's nationals before finishing Year 12 at Marymount College in November, also qualified for last night's finals in the men's 400m freestyle.

But Mrs Levings said his best event was the 1500m in which he is ranked third fastest.

The Levings siblings still have plenty of support in Bundaberg in the form of their grandmother Carmel Tucker, aunty and Bundaberg Mayor Lorraine Pyefinch and many other relatives and friends.

Topics:  bundaberg illness london olympics olympics swimming

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