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Determined student making waves towards the Paralympics


At just 15 years old, Stella Flynn is on her way to swimming for Australia at the Paralympic Games. The Year 11 student from St Scholastica’s College in Sydney started swimming when she was just six months old, but things really started to take off when her coach spotted her potential in the pool three years ago.

Head Coach for the Inner West Council Angelo Basalo could see that Stella had what it takes and asked if she wanted to step up to the competitive squads. She jumped at the opportunity, and under his guidance has rapidly progressed through the ranks. She’s immersed herself in a rigorous training routine, with almost daily sessions in the pool, workouts at the gym, as well as seeing a sports psychologist and physiotherapist to ensure she performs at her best.

She’s got her sights set on the ultimate prize

Stella’s hard work is paying off. After strong showings at last year's national swim meet, she was invited to attend Swimming Australia’s Para Futures Camp at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra. The camp opened her eyes to what she could achieve, and made her determined to swim for Australia.

She now has a clear roadmap of what she needs to do to get to the top. After being exposed to a performance-focused training environment she’s currently stepping up her regime and aiming for podium finishes at the Australian Age Championships and the National Swim Championships this year. From there her sights are set on the big one - qualifying for and meddling at the 2026 Paralympic Games as a member of the Australian Dolphins Swim Team.

Winning the Edstart Achievement Award on her path to glory

In recognition of her talent and hard work on her journey to paralympic glory, we awarded Stella the 2023 Edstart Achievement Award in the sport and physical wellbeing category. Winning the award gave Stella a huge confidence boost, and she loved the feeling of making her parents and coach proud. With her $1,500 grant money she plans to help her parents pay for travel and other associated training costs on her path to Paralympic glory.

Stella also wants to be a role model for future young paralympic swimmers, and to encourage them to chase their dreams. Beyond loving the competitive aspect of swimming, she says it helped her make lifelong friends and connect with other inspiring athletes. She hopes her own achievements in the pool will motivate others to get involved with swimming and other sports.

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