DOWN syndrome swimming champion Clinton Stanley has been selected as a Queensland finalist in the 2013 Australian of the Year Awards.
The Cooroy man was named as a finalist in the Australia's Local Hero category along with three others from across the state.
His mother, and Down Syndrome Down Under Swimming Organisation chairperson Sue Stanley, said the selection came as a total surprise to his family.
"He's very honoured," she said.
"What he's achieved in 36 years is just brilliant.
"It's wonderful for the Down syndrome community. It's making people more aware of what those with Down syndrome can achieve.
"When you have a child with Down syndrome, it's heartbreaking, but look at how amazing he's turned out.
"They can lead extraordinary lives if just given the opportunity."
Clinton is training for the World Down Syndrome Swimming Championships in Italy next week.
He will be swimming in 200m, 400m and 800m and 1500m freestyle and the 50m, 100m and 200m butterfly.
He is the 1500m freestyle Down syndrome world champion.
One award recipient from each category will be announced at a ceremony in Brisbane on Thursday, November 15.
The winners from Queensland will join other state and territory recipients as finalists in the national awards, which will be held on January 25 in Canberra.
Premier Campbell Newman congratulated Clinton for making the finals.
"I wish Clinton the best of luck and thank him for his contribution," he said.