The Sydney Catholic Schools Swimming Championships may well have uncovered an Australian Paralympian of the future in Hudson Wan.
The medals flowed for the Our Lady of Mt Carmel Catholic Primary School Mt Pritchard student, who swam in three events at the 2022 Swimming Championships at Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre.
Hudson placed first in breaststroke and freestyle, and second in backstroke.
But his favourite thing about swimming isn’t winning. It’s “that you get to explore things underwater and find out new things to learn about,” Hudson said.
Lapping up success
Hudson’s mother, Kia, first enrolled Hudson in swimming lessons when he was just two “for water safety and also for exercise at the time, because he had a physical limitation with his left leg,” she said.
“I thought swimming would be the best opportunity for him to get that exercise in and have some fun,” Ms Wan added.
She said they only more recently realised Hudson was a super swimmer.
“He had surgery with the amputation, and then he just picked up and surprised everybody – his swimming coach, swimming teachers,” Ms Wan said.
“He’s ready to get back into mainstream training with the rest of the crew, and doesn’t need any private lessons anymore.”
“He doesn’t have any limitations in his mind, which is really important” – Hudson’s mother, Kia
“I think he (Hudson) would love to be able to participate in the Paralympics one day, hopefully,” Ms Wan said.
“Today is the beginning of many competitions I hope, and he’ll make lots of good friends. There’s so much support here.
“It’s been amazing today. (We’re) so really, really happy that we got to be here.”
Equal access for all
The 2022 Sydney Catholic Schools’ Swimming Championships featured an unprecedented number of multi-class athletes, with 18 students swimming in both primary and secondary events.
Sydney Catholic Schools is the only diocese in NSW to employ a person to solely focus on opportunities in sport for Students with Disability.
The system’s Education Officer: Pre to Post Sport (All Abilities), Anna Turnbull, said Sydney Catholic Schools is aiming to expand all of its opportunities for Students with Disability, to give them the same access and opportunities as their peers.
“To watch the students come and be a part of the action, unite as multi-class athletes and have their chance at standing on the podium is brilliant; the smiles on their faces say it all” – Education Officer: Pre to Post Sport (All Abilities), Anna Turnbull
“We’ve had Hudson swim so successfully here today,” Ms Turnbull said.
“The confidence he has gained and his aspirations to excel as a swimmer might one day lead to him becoming a Paralympian.
“It’s definitely something that he’s super excited about at the moment, especially wearing all those medals!”