JACQUELINE Freney set the world alight with her record-breaking performances in the pool last year, and turned to poetry to accept her Ballina Shire Young Citizen of the Year award at the Ballina Shire Australia Day ceremony.
The 20-year-old from Skennars Head recited her poem to the hundreds who gathered at Alstonville.
"I am who I am. I am young. I am disabled," she began.
Freney, who has cerebral palsy, spoke about having motivation and being dedicated, before closing with: "I never give up."
Freney, who was last year Ballina Shire's Sports Person of the Year, said it was great to be acknowledged again by her community.
She was Australia's 2012 Paralympian of the Year following her eight gold medal-winning efforts at the 2012 London Paralympic Games.
Many of those who attended the Australia Day ceremony were keen to get her autograph, along with that of Olympian Melanie Schlanger, who was the Ballina Shire Australia Day ambassador.