If James Hollis needs any further inspiration for next month’s IPC Swimming European Championships, he need only refer to his own debut on the same stage three years ago.
Hollis, from Theydon Bois, was picked to make his major senior international debut as part of Great Britain’s team for the 2011 IPC Swimming European Championships in Berlin.
And he made sure to mark the occasion in style, picking up bronze as part of the 4x100m relay team as well as placing fourth and 11th in the 100m butterfly and 100m backstroke respectively.
Since then the 20-year-old has gone to represent Britain at his maiden Paralympic Games at London 2012 and make his World Championship bow a year later – but without a medal at wither.
And on the eve of returning to the event that kick-started his major international swimming career, Hollis admits more silverware would make the occasion even sweeter.
“I really enjoyed the Europeans last time, it was a really nice environment, there were a lot of new athletes and I was really relaxed,” said Hollis.
“There is no pressure on myself from outside people this time, it’s more myself putting pressure on me to do the best I can.
“I set myself specific goals and I know when I am in a position to achieve them and when I am not going well.
“It would be a dream to pick up an individual medal although the performance and time is something that comes first. I’m going really well at the moment though.
“I broke my shoulder blade a couple of months ago due to a freak accident and that put me back a bit but my coach and I are feeling confident now and it’s all about the preparation.”
Not long after the Eindhoven waters have settled Hollis will be able to relive some of his happiest memories as he returns to the London Aquatics Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
This time it is for the second annual National Paralympic Day on August 30 and the 20-year-old admits it feels like a special outing just thinking about it.
“I’m really excited for National Paralympic Day, having another home crowd cheering you on at that venue gives me goosebumps on my back just thinking about,” he added.
“Coverage of Paralympic sport is just getting bigger and bigger in this country since London 2012. I really enjoy watching Paralympic sport.
“And now that we have the National Paralympic Day, it shows that everyone is really supportive of it. I’m really looking forward to taking part but also seeing everything else that is going on.”
National Paralympic Day will be celebrated on Saturday August 30 with a day of Paralympic sport and disability arts in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. To buy tickets for the Paralympic sport, log on to www.axs.com/national-paralympic-day. #NPD2014 is supported by Spirit of 2012.