Paralympic dreaming for Tweed swimmer
FOR Kingscliff swimmer Kate Wilson, the Paralympic dream is one step away from becoming a reality, with a meeting on the other side of the world in early June to decide her Rio fate.
All that separates Wilson and Rio is a centimetre, after the aspiring Paralympian set Rio qualifying times at the recent Australian swimming trials, finishing second, third and second respectively in her S6 class in the 200m individual medley, 100m breaststroke and 100m freestyle races.
Wilson stands at 129cm and is required to be under 130cm to qualify for her S6 class grading.
If she exceeds it, it would spell doom for her opportunity to swim for Australia in Rio.
“To be selected for an international team, you have to be classified, which I’ve had previously, but because I’ve turned 18 and can grow, I have to go to Berlin to be reclassified,” Wilson said.
“I’ve already got the times required for S6 to go, but if I exceed that 130cm, it’s bye-bye as I don’t have the times to qualify for S7. So what happens there decides whether I get to go to Rio or not.”
The dream began for Wilson at the Kingscliff Pool under the watchful eye of coaches including Dwayne Fitzsimmons and former Olympians Lara Davenport and Ethan Rolfe.
After becoming more serious from age 13, Wilson continued to improve and after growing in confidence on the back of strong performances at the Pacific School Games meet in Adelaide in November, stepped it up at the Rio trials.
“The Pacific School Games was the only international meet I’d been to and I won the 200m individual medley, got silver in the 100m and 50m breaststroke and did good PBs,” Wilson said.
“I’d been told I had potential and that spurred me on and gave me confidence. I didn’t think I could make it (Rio), so I just gave it a crack and was really happy with my results.”
Wilson has a line marked in her home, which she stands under daily to make sure she remains under the required height.
A very likeable and positive character, Wilson said although she’s looking forward to competing in Berlin with a team of 36 Australian paralympians and the chance to compete internationally while seeing the world, she will continue to think “short thoughts”.
“It will be exciting to go to Germany and compete on the international stage, but Rio has been my goal and it would be a dream come true,” she said.
“I was 10 or so when I started talking about it (Olympics), but now it’s really exciting as the opportunity is so close.”