Minerva wings

Isabella Vincent

In 2021 Izzy was selected as the youngest member of the Australian Paralympic team and came home with a silver and bronze medal from the pool.  This year she was selected on the Commonwealth Games team to compete in Birmingham, again as the youngest member of our team.  Izzy says that “Representing Australia is beyond my wildest dreams and I’m incredibly grateful for these opportunities”.  

Izzy was born with a condition called Sacral Agenesis, primarily her part of her lower spine didn’t form.  Her lower limbs aren’t as strong as they should be. A few years ago, it got to a point where her legs weren’t able to carry her around anymore and she adjusted to using a wheelchair on a full time basis.  

Izzy actually starting swimming when she was really young – the learn to swim program that most youngsters do with their parents. Izzy started with some friends from the Mum’s group and had fun at first. Her friends started to move up through the classes but despite her parents explaining that she wasn’t be able to kick, Izzy didn’t graduate because she couldn’t get the kicking box ticked! Once Izzy could float and get herself to the edge of the pool they gave up and pursued other activities. When recovering from foot surgery at 12 years of age Izzy undertook hydrotherapy. At this point in time Izzy realised that walking was not going to be possible long term and she was in quite a bit of pain. It was during this time that Izzy found that she enjoyed being in the pool, it gave her a sense of freedom, the pain was decreased and she was able to get around in the water much easier than out. Her parents looked into options for Izzy to try swimming again once her recovery was complete.  

As Norwood Swimming Club was in Izzy’s local area and they had some information about a program for swimmers with disabilities on their website, Izzy joined the Club and six months after qualified to compete at the 2018 Nationals. The more Izzy swam, the more she enjoyed it and she especially enjoyed training.  The training paid off when Izzy made the Australian team at the Australian Trials in June 2021 and then she was off to the Tokyo Paralympics.  Izzy won two medals as part of the 100m Free and 100m Medley relay teams. In 2022 she will compete in the 100m Breaststroke and 100m Backstroke at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.  

Outside of the pool Izzy actively encourages young people with impairments to try para sport and has spoken at a number of Para sport Come and Try days, a variety of events and at Primary Schools across Adelaide.  Izzy has also raised funds for an initiative that she is looking to roll out in the near future.

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