Kenmore State High’s Inspiring Swimmer Set to Carry the Queen’s Baton in Commonwealth Games

Photo credit: Australian Paralympic Committee/Wikimedia Commons

Katja Dedekind may not be competing in the coming Gold Coast Commonwealth Games but she is still going to be an important part of the event.  Even though the Games doesn’t have events for vision-impaired swimmers, the young, vision-impaired swimmer will eagerly join approximately 3,800 baton bearers of the Queen’s Baton Relay.

 

Photo credit: Facebook/Katja Dedekind

The young swimmer from Kenmore served as an inspiration to many when she won a bronze medal on her debut at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Embodying her motto, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you”, Dedekind doesn’t let her visual impairment stop her from doing the things she loves.

Apart from being a Paralympian swimmer, Dedekind is also a great goalball player. Her love for goalball started when she attended a ‘Come and Try’ day in 2012. After a few months of training, she was named as the Best Defensive Junior Player at the Australian Goalball Championships in Melbourne. By 2014, she was given a $250 grant to fuel her pursuit for on-court success.

Photo credit: http://www.sportingdreams.org.au

While playing alongside Australia’s best goalball teams, Dedekind still managed to make waves in the pool in 2015. She was hailed as the Swimmer of the Meet for swimmers with disabilities at the Queensland Sprint Championships. She also managed to collect three gold and five silver medals at the Pacific School Games in Adelaide that year.

By 2016, the unstoppable Kenmore girl did a superb performance at the Australian Swimming Championships. Dedekind won third place in the 200m freestyle and ranked fifth in both the 50m backstroke and 50m butterfly. Swimming with the Paralympic medallists Maddison Elliott, Ashleigh McConnell, and Taylor Corry, they managed to win first place in the 4x50m mixed freestyle relay.

Photo credit: Facebook/Katja Dedekind

During her first time to represent Australia at the 2016 Rio Paralympics, Dedekind surprised her competitors in the S13 100m backstroke as she finished with a time of  1 minute and 12.25 seconds, just a few seconds behind Ukraine’s Anna Stetsenko and Great Britain’s Abby Kane. She was also qualified to race in the 400m freestyle final where she finished in seventh place.

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The versatile 16-year-old doesn’t even stop at athletics. She is also an aspiring poet and a recipient of the Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Award for her poem ‘The Open Door’.

Dedekind is set to complete her leg of the Queen’s Baton Relay in New Farm on Saturday, 31 March 2018. You can join in the community event celebration of the Queen’s Baton Relay in New Farm hosted by the Brisbane City Council from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. at the Powerhouse Park, 137 Sydney Street, New Farm. Don’t miss the chance to see the baton bearers up close.