Quick Facts

Disability
Vision Impairment – congenital cataracts and ambylopia
Sport
Swimming
How acquired
Congenital
Date of Birth
August 17, 2001
Home
Kenmore, QLD
Occupation
Student
Started Competing
2012
First Competed for Australia
2016
Games Experience

Rio 2016

Heroes

Cate and Bronte Campbell, Meica Christensen and Nicole Esdaile

Career Highlights

Three gold medals at the 2015 SSA Pacific School Games

Bio

Born in Durban, South Africa, vision-impaired Katja Dedekind and her twin brother were introduced to swimming by their mother at an early age.

Katja recalls attending every training session in the hope that one day she would “swim like a dolphin”; she is now looking to represent Australia at the 2016 Paralympic Games as one of them.

Katja attended a goalball ‘come and try’ day in 2012, and in the same year at the Australian Goalball Championships in Melbourne she was awarded the title ‘Best Defensive Junior Player’. In 2014 Katja was the recipient of a $250 Sporting Dreams grant, and she lists training and playing alongside the Australian men and women’s Paralympic teams as her greatest sporting moment to date.

At the 2015 McDonald’s Swimming Queensland Sprint Championships in Brisbane, Katja was the recipient of the Swimmer of the Meet award for swimmers with disabilities after placing 1st in the 50m freestyle and 2nd in the 50m backstroke and butterfly finals.

Katja made waves at the 2015 SSA Pacific School Games in Adelaide, where she competed in ten events medalled in eight. She took home gold in the 50m and 100m backstroke and 200m freestyle, and silver in the 50m butterfly, 50m and 100m freestyle, 200m medley relay and 400m freestyle relay.

Under the guidance of her coach, David Heyden, 14-year-old Katja came out strong at the 2016 Australian Swimming Championships after many stand-out performances. She contested nine events, placing 3rd in the 200m freestyle and 5th in the 50m backstroke and butterfly finals. Katja also joined forces with Maddison Elliott, Ashleigh McConnell and Taylor Corry to take gold in the mixed 4x50m freestyle relay.

Making her Paralympic debut in Rio, Katja competed in four events and achieved one podium finish. She won a bronze medal in the women’s 100m backstroke S13 event, something she didn’t expect to achieve until later in her career. She also achieved seventh in the 400m freestyle.

Although Katja’s focus has turned to swimming, she remains passionate about goalball and cites Australian Paralympic goalball players Meica Christensen and Nicole Esdaile as two of her heroes.

In her spare time Katja enjoys reading, listening to music and watching movies. She is also a celebrated poet, selected to receive the Dorothea Mackellar Multicultural NSW Award for ‘The Open Door’ in 2015.

Sports & Disciplines

  • Sport: Swimming Disciplines: 100m backstroke Classification: S13
  • Sport: Swimming Disciplines: 100m freestyle Classification: S13
  • Sport: Swimming Disciplines: 400m freestyle Classification: S13
  • Sport: Swimming Disciplines: 50m freestyle Classification: S13