Paralympics 2012: Ellie Simmonds inspired by home support

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Simmonds confident ahead of Games

ParalympicsGB swimmer Ellie Simmonds is excited by the chance to race in front of a noisy home support in London.

The 17-year-old, who won two gold medals in the pool in Beijing aged just 13, told BBC Sport that watching the Olympics earlier in August both excited and daunted her.

Team GB won three medals in front of a raucous crowd in the Aquatics Centre.

"It gives us an extra boost," Simmonds told BBC Sport. "I think it's going to be a good thing."

Simmonds claimed gold in the S6 100m and 400m freestyle events at Beijing 2008 and won the the BBC Young Sports Personality in the same year.

In March 2012, Simmonds became the first swimmer to break a world record at London's Aquatics Centre with victory in the 200m individual medley and is hoping to repeat that success as she strives for gold at the Paralympics.

"I know I've got quite a bit of pressure because people expect me to just get in the pool and swim gold medals," Simmonds conceded.

"It's going to be really tough. But the pressure drives me forward every time and I'm just looking forward to racing."

In June, 16-year-old Victoria Arlen broke Simmonds's 100m and 400m freestyle world records in races in North Dakota, and ParalympicsGB's medal hope acknowledged the American is her main rival at the Games.

"I'm a very competitive person," Simmonds said. "It's going to be really good racing, being behind the blocks and knowing that she's the world record holder and that I've got to beat her. It's easier to beat someone than stay at the top."

Around 4,000 athletes from more than 150 countries will be taking part in the London 2012 Paralympics, which run from 29 August to 9 September.

Even at 17, with one Paralympics already behind her Simmonds is hoping to draw on her experience to power to gold.

"This is my second Games," she said. "I'm experienced, I know what suits me best and I've been with my coach now for a long time, so he knows what's best for me.

"I'm very prepared, not just physically but mentally as well. In Beijing I was 13, a youngster and excited. Now I'm 17, still a teenager, but I've been in this sport quite a long time now. I know how things roll."

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