Her coach, parents
Winning two relay gold medals at London 2012
Born with cerebral palsy right hemiplegia and paralysis down her right side, Katherine Downie is a young gun making a concerted charge in the world of swimming.
At the age of 15, Katherine won two gold and three silver medals at her first international meet, the 2011 Arafura Games. A month later, she set a new world record in the S10 100m freestyle at the 2011 Australian Short Course Championships, the first to ever be set at the new South Australian Aquatic and Leisure Centre.
She continued her 2011 top form with gold in the 100m butterfly, silver in the 100m freestyle and bronze in the 50m freestyle at the Can/Am Championships to secure the times she needed to qualify for London.
Her crowning glory came at the London Paralympics, where she won two gold medals as part of the 4x100m freestyle and medley relays teams. Her infectious smile and bubbly personality became a favourite on the Games’ television coverage and she was nominated for Junior Athlete of the Year at the 2012 Paralympian of the Year Awards. She was also named Swimming WA’s Swimmer of the Year in 2013.
The West Australian is not immune to superstitions when it comes to racing and believes she must have her yellow duck pillow at all events as a good luck charm. Away from the pool, she loves going to the beach and, unsurprisingly, lists Hawaii and the Bahamas as her preferred holiday destinations. She also enjoys going to the movies, reading and shopping.
While most of Katherine’s time spent swimming has been far from embarrassing, she did humorously turn up to training once without her bathers. But it didn’t stop her from getting in the pool and she proceeded to train in her clothes.
In future years, Katherine hopes to excel at swimming and hopefully be somebody’s inspiration. She hopes to own her own place and business, all while continuing to swim.