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Paralympians booked for London

Rick Pendleton reacts after winning the men's 200m individual medley at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing.
Rick Pendleton reacts after winning the men's 200m individual medley at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing. Getty Images

THREE Sunshine Coast-based athletes are eyeing gold after being named in Australia's London Paralympics team.

Rick Pendleton, Blake Cochrane and Michael Anderson, who live together at Kawana Waters and train together with the University of the Sunshine Coast's high-performance Paralympic squad, are considered strong gold medal chances in their pet events.

It will be Pendleton's third Paralympics, while Cochrane and Anderson will be contesting their second Games.

Pendleton is the reigning 200m individual medley Paralympic champion and was also part of Australia's gold medal-winning 4x100m medley relay teams at the Beijing and Athens Games.

The winner of the silver in the 100m breaststroke at Beijing, Cochrane is the current world champion and world No.1 in the event.

Anderson is the 100m backstroke silver medallist from Beijing and the current world No.2 in that event.

Pendleton said he still got a huge buzz from Paralympic selection.

He found out he made the team a fortnight ago, but had to sit on the news until yesterday's official announcement.

"It's finally good to get the official word ... it will be good to put a post on Facebook and that sort of stuff," he said.

Pendleton is unsure how many events he will contest.

"My main events are the 100m breaststroke and 200m IM, but I've got five or six days of having nothing to do," he said.

"I'm pretty sure my coach will throw in extra events to keep me going - backstroke and freestyle, that sort of thing."

Pendleton, Cochrane and Anderson are the only remaining members of USC's Paralympic squad. It was formed last year.

Three former squad members - eight-time Paralympic champion Matthew Cowdrey, Annabelle Williams and Andrew Pasterfield - are also London-bound.

Pendleton had this to say about that trio's departure from the squad: "With a new program, not everyone is sure how everything goes along.

"A few just missed Sydney (where they resided) and another one had university commitments in Adelaide. It didn't quite work with everyone."

Cochrane will also contest the 50m and 100m freestyle, 200m IM and potentially two relays at London.

He has a world top-five ranking in the 50m and 100m freestyle.

"I've put a little bit of work in on those strokes over the last nine months or so (and) I potentially could medal there," he said.

"I'm focusing on that breaststroke, but if anything else comes I'll be more than happy with picking up another medal."

The swimming squad has a two-week training camp in Cardiff before the Games.

Head coach Brendan Keogh said it was a team "Australia could be proud of".

"We have a number of experienced swimmers on the team who are reaching their peaks as athletes and will be highly competitive in London," he said.

"We also have a number of athletes going to their first Games who have shown enormous potential at various competitions over the past two years."

Topics:  london london paralympics


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