“When I saw Ellie Symmonds swimming at the Beijing games, it inspired me. I said ‘I am going to do that’.”
Most parents have probably been here before, and anyone with a nine-year-old would be forgiven for assuming this was a fleeting obsession – their young one would surely be into something else next week.
But Newham girl Amy Marren is made of sterner stuff.
Also online: London 2012 stars get ready for National Paralympic Day.
Just four years later, Amy became one of Britain’s youngest ever Paralympians when she competed in the 400m freestyle final at London 2012, aged just 13.
“I think it comes from my parents,” she said. “We’re all East Enders in my family!”
It has been quite a rise to prominence for Amy who, after the Beijing games, began training in the swimming pool at Campion School in Romford.
“It was a real family effort,” said Amy, who hails from East Ham. “My mum and dad, and even my grandma, would take turns in driving me to training.”
It was during her training that she was spotted by renowned swimming coach Michelle Weltman, and Amy was soon fast-tracked through the Paralympics swimming ranks.
And so the dream came true when she found herself in front of the cameras in her home city’s Paralympics games.
“I was so young I did not expect to even qualify,” she said. “The aim was always to do well at Rio 2016, so I was so shocked.”
It was a massive achievement for someone so young but, despite her tender years, Amy said she was not fazed once she reached the final.
“I had no pressure on me, so I just got on with it. A lot of people think the crowd would scare you, but I didn’t feel like that – I just managed to switch it off.”
When she went back to school that September, she was met with an unexpected welcome.
“I was starting year 10,” she said. “There were pictures of me all over the school – it was so amazing.”
Now 16, Amy has the dual challenge of studying for A-Levels while setting her sights on next year’s Rio games.
But, true to form, she is not feeling any added pressure.
“It has always been my main aim to get to the Rio games,” she said. “I have had a few illnesses over the past year or so, but in a way it has helped me prepare for the next season.
“I may go to university and I want to see what is out there, but I want to carry on with my swimming too. I am an adventurous person and it has helped me go all over the world.
“But I know that my family will be behind me 110%.”
Outside of swimming, Amy is a normal teenager who likes nothing more than spending time with her pals.
But despite her incredible achievements, she said her school friends don’t take much of an interest in competitive swimming – and that’s just the way she likes it.
“They don’t have a clue about sport,” she added. “My friends are normal teenagers and, even though they’re supportive of what I do, it’s good to have that escape and know that I’m Amy as well as the swimmer.”
Amy will compete in this month’s National Paralympic Day at the London Aquatic Centre on Saturday, July 26.