On the cusp of the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics, Grant “Scooter” Patterson and Katja Dedekind can’t wait to stand behind the blocks and represent their country at the Games.
Speaking to the media during the team’s pre-departure camp in Cairns, the duo gave an insight into their preparation and their last training push before they leave for Japan next week.
With the Games marking the first major international meet for the Australian swim team since 2019, Scooter is incredibly excited to compete against the greatest swimmers in the world and is striving to achieve his best when it matters most.
The experienced campaigner will compete in five individual events in Tokyo, including the 50m (S3) and 200m free (S3), 50m backstroke (S3), 50m breaststroke (SB2) and the 150m IM (SM3).
“It’s been my dream since I started swimming, but it’s very important I focus on the process on how to get there and not the outcome; whatever happens, happens,” he said.
“But as long as I focus on the three weeks leading up to Tokyo, the rewards will come.”
Humble and grateful for his selection to represent the green and gold, Scooter is focusing on what he can control and was inspired after witnessing the success of his fellow Dolphins at the Olympic Games.
“Watching a lot of our guys compete at Tokyo was awesome, very inspirational, it inspires me to go and do an even better job and inspire the rest of the world again,” he said.
“A Paralympic medal, that’s the icing on the cake. Making the team is a reward and then to hopefully win the allusive Paralympic medal, who knows what colour, but if I do it’ll be awesome, but my main focus is to execute my race plan correctly over there.”
Swimming at her first Paralympic games when she was just 15 years old, backstroke specialist Katja Dedekind is back to compete again, saying she is just grateful for the opportunity to go to Tokyo.
“Having those five years of experience and being on national teams every year, it’s been a lot better for my Tokyo preparation because I now know what to do and how to handle it,” Dedekind said.
“I’m so stoked we get to compete again, internationally it’s been a while, I’m just happy the Games have been allowed to go ahead.”
Dedekind exceeded her expectations when she won a bronze medal at the Rio Paralympics and would be a dream come true if she was able to stand on the podium again after her events – which includes the 50m and 400m freestyle (S13) and the 100m backstroke (S13).
“Rio was quite unexpected, to be honest, I didn’t know I was a backstroker until then, I think if I’m able to go there and get another medal it would be absolutely amazing,” she said.
“We’ve been training so hard in and out of the pool; making sure we’re prepared for everything, so the team and I are training really, really hard and I think we’ll see how we’re going closer to the time.”
The Tokyo bound Paralympic swim team assembled in Cairns earlier this week for their final preparations before the games start on the 24 August.