COMMONWEALTH Games athlete and former resident Cindy-Lu Fitzpatrick visited Liverpool for International Day of People with a Disability last week.
Liverpool Champion reported that Fitzpatrick, who is profoundly deaf, is known for her impressive swimming career.
She represented Australia at two Commonwealth Games and two Pan Pacific Games.
The swimmer grew up in Austral and went to Liverpool Public School where she held the title of vice-captain.
She then went on to the Australian Institute of Sport and now teaches Australian sign language at the University of New England.
Fitzpatrick spoke at Liverpool City Library on Wednesday about her experiences in order to encourage other deaf students to never give up.
As an athlete, Fitzpatrick said her ability to perform was affected by communication barriers.
However, she said that she worked hard to succeed and do what she loved even without access to support such as AUSLAN interpreters.
“I went to a school swimming carnival when I was 12 and a coach saw my potential and encouraged me to train harder,” she said.
“I wanted to compete professionally when I started doing well in state and then national championships, but I just enjoyed swimming so much that my success was a bonus.
“I’m particularly grateful for my old school teacher Ross Hodge who encouraged me to play sport, because educational opportunities for deaf children were lacking back then.”
Fitzpatrick has donated her 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games tracksuit to Liverpool City Library and has also loaned her Commonwealth Games outfit of jacket, shirt, tie and skirt.