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Loudwater girl Hollie Fisher set to compete in Maccabiah Games
A Loudwater teenager is preparing to represent her country at the "Jewish Olympics" next month.
Hollie Fisher, 15, from Rooks Hill, Loudwater, has been selected for the GB swimming team to travel to Israel.
Hollie, who is in year 10 at Royal Masonic School in Rickmansworth, says her training for the Maccabiah Games began immediately after she completed the European competition two years ago.
She will join a GB delegation of 500 Jewish athletes travelling to Israel. And she already has a headstart as she will be joined by friends and Hillingdon Swimming Club teammates Naomi Ayrton 16, and her younger sister Rachel Ayrton, 13 from Northwood.
Hollie said: "We first found out about the games this time two years ago and it has been two years building up to it.
"I am excited, mainly for the swimming because it’s a huge competition but also for the social events.
"There will be an opening ceremony like in the Olympics where each country walks through in alphabetical order then the closing ceremony is like a big party."
At the European Maccabi games in Vienna in 2011 Hollie lead the GB teams medal charge coming home with four gold, three silver and three bronze medals.
Reflecting on her own chances of bringing home some silverware, Hollie said: "I feel quite confident, I have had quite a good season.
"I am feeling confident and training hard.
"My school friends are excited for me although quite a lot of them didn’t really know what it is but I have told them all about it.
"My teachers know, some don’t really understand how big it is for me but some of them are really excited."
When Hollie flies out for the two week competition starting on July 18 she will be joined by her mother Lisa Michaels.
Amazingly, despite being in the middle of her GCSE exams and fitting in training sessions most nights after school Hollie has raised just over £1,000 - roughly a quarter of the cost of competing in the games.
Lisa said: "The costs of her participating in the Games is very high and she is not able to get corporate sponsorship.
"Hollie has helped to raise some money to contribute to her own participation costs by saving pocket money, saving money she has been given in reward for good school reports and selling some old things she no longer wanted.
"She also did a 10K sponsored run a couple of weeks ago. I am very proud of her for that and in total Hollie managed to raise just over £1,000."
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