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43309-Fabienne Andre photo

Fabienne Andre

Athletics

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Cerebral Palsy
Origin of Impairment
Congenital
Classification
F34, T34

Further personal information

Occupation
Athlete, Physiotherapist
Languages
English

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She took up Para swimming at age 14. She began training as a wheelchair racer in 2018 and started competing in July 2019. "While competing at the CPISRA [Cerebral Palsy International Sport and Recreation Association] World Games in Spain in August 2018 I was introduced to a wide range of sports other than swimming, so it provided a real insight into other sports and the elements needed to compete in them."
Why this sport?
She got involved in Para swimming on the recommendation of a doctor after she had a major leg operation. She took up Para athletics to try something new. "I wanted to expand my sporting world. Initially, I was looking at trying both hand cycling and wheelchair racing, as I was keen to do a triathlon, which would enable me to continue swimming too. I had become good friends with a few of the wheelchair racers, so felt this would be a good place to start. Later that year I was invited to try it out at the Weir Archer Academy [England] and something just clicked. I knew that wheelchair racing would be my new competitive focus and passion."
Club / Team
Weir Archer Academy: London, ENG
Name of coach
Jenny Archer [club], GBR

General interest

Nicknames
Fabs (Twitter profile, 04 Oct 2020)
Hobbies
Crochet, learning sign language. (toyota.co.uk, 22 May 2020)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"In terms of coping with pressure, I think at first it is just really important to enjoy what you do, then focus on how to improve as you make progress. A certain level of pressure is okay, as it can motivate you, but never lose the love for the sport that you are trying or doing because of too much self-imposed pressure." (toyota.co.uk, 22 May 2020)
Awards and honours
In 2019 she received the Special Recognition Award from the Weir Archer Academy in England. (weirarcher.co.uk, 16 Dec 2019; Facebook page, 08 Dec 2019)

In 2018 she was named Swim England South East Region Disability Swimmer of the Year. (swimming.org, 28 Sep 2019)
Other sports
She has competed in Para swimming for Great Britain, including at the 2018 Cerebral Palsy International Sport and Recreation Association [CPISRA] World Games in Sant Cugat del Valles, Spain. (parasport.org.uk, 19 Sep 2019)
Ambitions
To compete at the 2020 and 2024 Paralympic Games. (Facebook page, 23 Jul 2021; theargus.co.uk, 22 Jun 2021)
Impairment
She was born with cerebral palsy. (swimming.org, 28 Sep 2019)
Other information
OCCUPATION
She works as a hospital physiotherapy assistant for the National Health Service [NHS] in England. "Balancing work and training can be a challenge but a routine and good support network is key. A lot of athletes, when you get to this level, do not work as well but I really value my role and working for the NHS through the pandemic has really helped me, because it gives me another focus and allows me to switch off from training. I find that having the two different things to focus on, and having to be disciplined with my time, helps me ensure that I get the most out of every training session. I always look forward to training, either to start my day off or at the end of my working day. It is a challenge, and I do rely on a bit of help from my parents to be able to work pretty much full-time, train full-time and travel to and from London to train as well. It is quite a juggling act, and you have to be organised but I wouldn't have it any other way." (toyota.co.uk, 22 May 2020; theargus.co.uk, 22 Jun 2021)

OTHER ACTIVITIES
She has served on the Swim England National Youth Advisory Panel. (swimming.org, 28 Sep 2019)