Quick Facts

How acquired
Physical Impairment – Cerebral Palsy
Date of Birth
October 24, 1997
Moorooka, QLD
School student
Started Competing
First Competed for Australia
Games Experience

Rio 2016


Geoff Trappett

Career Highlights

Winning gold in the 100m freestyle in world record time at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow

Greatest Moment

Watching Peter Leek win gold in the 200m IM at the 2008 Paralympic Games


Rowan Crothers proved he is a force to be reckoned with when at just 16-years-old he swam the race of his life to win gold and break a world record in the men’s 100m S9 freestyle at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Defeating Australia’s most successful Paralympian Matt Cowdrey, his gold medal victory became a defining moment in Rowan’s career as he realised he was on his way of achieving his ultimate goal of swimming for his country at the Paralympic Games.

Born with cerebral palsy diplegia, causing stiffness in his lower limbs and his right arm, swimming became part of Rowan’s physiotherapy regime. Although adept in the sport from years of practise, Rowan had not considered competing until he watched the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games on television as a nine-year-old.

Sparking his interest in Paralympic sport was seeing Australian cerebral palsy athlete Peter Leek win gold in the 200m individual medley, and it wasn’t long before he got in touch with Sporting Wheelies, who connected him to his local swimming club at Yeronga Park in an attempt to follow his new hero’s footsteps.

Four years later, Rowan made an incredible debut for Australia at the 2013 IPC World Championships in Montreal, Canada where he won gold in the 4x100m freestyle relay and a bronze in the 100m freestyle.

Backing up his world titles, Rowan continued to show his power in the pool breaking the world record for the 400m freestyle at the 2013 Australian Short Course Championships. Not one to stop there, Rowan went on to break the 100m and 200m freestyle at the 2014 Australian Swimming Championships.

Having been reclassified as an S10 athlete prior to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, Rowan still showed up in stellar form to trials, qualifying for the 2016 Australian Paralympic Team.

There, he competed in four events and qualified for the finals in each. He placed fifth in the 4 x 100m freestyle relay, sixth in the 400m freestyle, fifth in the 100m freestyle and sixth in the 50m freestyle.

Despite being on top of his game at such a young age, Rowan maintains his humble attitude. He cites wheelchair racer Geoff Trappett as a major source of inspiration for his honesty in 2003 when he owned up to an unnoticed false start after setting a world record in the 100m. Displaying his own morals, Rowan says that Geoff’s world record in the same event two weeks later was a testament to his hard work and determination.

In addition to Geoff, the St Laurence’s College student believes his parents have been a great influence on his life as they have always provided him with the necessary support to succeed in the pool.

When he’s not training or studying for his school exams, Rowan enjoys zoning out and relaxing to classic, rock, metal and punk. In ten years time, he not only hopes to have multiple Paralympic gold medals under his belt, but to be working to improve the lives of children with cerebral palsy by providing them with similar opportunities as he has had in his life so far.

Sports & Disciplines

  • Sport: Swimming Disciplines: 100m freestyle Classification: S10
  • Sport: Swimming Disciplines: 400m freestyle Classification: S10
  • Sport: Swimming Disciplines: 4x100m freestyle relay Classification: S10
  • Sport: Swimming Disciplines: 4x100m medley relay Classification: S10
  • Sport: Swimming Disciplines: 50m freestyle Classification: S10