Three Commonwealth Games gold medallists are amongst the new leaders of the Dolphins Para-swimming squad as the team begin a massive 2022 season that includes the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
Swimming Australia and the Australian Dolphins have announced the new Para Athlete Leadership Group for the upcoming Paralympic cycle.
Commonwealth Games gold medallists Lakeisha Patterson OAM, Rowan Crothers OAM and Jesse Aungles join Tokyo Paralympic bronze medallist Katja Dedekind as the four team members to lead the Dolphins team through to the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.
The quartet were nominated by their fellow athletes and will serve as Dolphins Leaders until the end of 2024.
Swimming Australia General Manager – Paralympic Program, Adam Pine OAM, congratulated the new Leadership Group, saying the votes of their peers were testament to their standing within the team.
“Making each other better is at the core of everything we do in the Dolphins environment and all four of these athletes have a proven track record of being a positive influence within our team,” Pine said.
“Success requires committed and engaged leaders and there’s no doubt Lakeisha, Rowan, Katja and Jesse will give all of themselves to help shape and support the performance of their teammates, both in and out of the pool.”
“We are incredibly proud to have them serve as our next Athlete Leadership Group and look forward to watching the manner in which they embrace the responsibility on the path to Paris.”
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Crothers, a Glasgow 2014 gold medallist and dual Gold medalist from the Tokyo Paralympics, said he was humbled to be chosen.
“The Paralympic program has come a long way since I first joined the Team in 2013, and I have watched myself and others grow in many aspects over this time. One of my primary goals as a Leader is to build further upon the performance-driven mentality within the Team, creating a more unified team with a greater ability to achieve results both individually and as a team.”
Patterson, a two-time Gold Coast 2018 gold medallist and gold medallist at both the Rio and Tokyo Paralympics, said it was a dream come true.
“I am excited to build on the incredible legacy that our past Dolphins leaders have pioneered and humbled to be chosen to listen, unite, represent and take action for our team while we create an inclusive, positive, and safe environment for all.”
Dedekind, who will be preparing for her third Paralympic campaign in Paris, said she was excited by the opportunity.
“I am honoured to be a para-athlete leader and am looking forward to playing my part in continuing to make this team great. I feel as a leader we have a greater role to play in bringing our dolphin family together as there is always ways to make our team stronger and better.”
Aungles, a Gold Coast gold medallist and also a two time Paralympian, said it was an honour to be able to contribute as a leader amongst what he considers to be a team of leaders.
“Anyone representing Australia as a Dolphin has demonstrated that they have incredible capabilities, professionalism and work ethic. To be elected as a representative among such peers is an opportunity to engage with and learn from everyone on the Dolphins team.”
The Para team’s focus now switches firmly to preparation ahead of the 2022 Australian Swimming Championships – Multi-Class in Adelaide in April, and the World Para Swimming Championships in Madeira, Portugal in June, before the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games that begin on 28 July.
With thanks Swimming Australia.