CLOVERDALE resident Tegan Reder (15) has been blind since birth but having a vision impairment has never dampened her love for sports.
The Year 10 St Norbert College student trains five to six times a week at Aqualife leading up to the 2019 Hancock Prospecting Australian Age Swimming Championships next week.
Tegan has broken Australian records in the S11 category for swimmers with no sight, including the 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke, 50m and 100m freestyle and 50m and 100m backstroke.
“I really want to make it to the Junior Paralympics development squad or the 2022 Commonwealth Games,” she said.
Tegan said she has been swimming competitively for just over a year after switching from vaulting, a mix of gymnastics and dance on horseback.
“My biggest achievement has been qualifying for nationals in less than a year,” she said.
“People assume I can’t do simple stuff and ask things like ‘can you swim in a straight line?’ or ‘can you dive from a diving board?’.”
S11 category swimmers compete in blacked-out goggles and have ‘tappers’ to indicate they are at the end of the pool.
As a Variety WA Heart Scholarship recipient, Tegan received $3000 for new equipment including a race suit and a Swim Coach Communicator walkie-talkie with headset.
“The scholarship is to help make goals more achievable, it pays for fees and coaching,” she said.
Tegan will compete at the 2019 Age Swimming Championships and the 2019 Hancock Prospecting Australian Swimming Championships in Adelaide from April 7 – 22.