Katja Dedekind is a Paralympic swimmer who was awarded a Tier 3 Scholarship within the 2021 Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship and Mentoring Program.
Katja was born in Durban, South Africa, in 2001 and moved to Australia with her family at a young age. She now lives on the Sunshine Coast and competes in the S13 category, having been born with congenital cataracts and amblyopia which limits her vision in her left eye and caused blindness in her right eye.
Katja began swimming competitively in 2012 and in 2016 won bronze in the 200m freestyle, 50m backstroke and 50m breaststroke at the Australian Swimming Championships. She then became one of the youngest athletes to represent Australia at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games and returned from her international debut with a bronze in the 100m backstroke, as well as making the final in the 400m freestyle.
At the 2018 Para Pan Pacific Championships she collected the whole suite of medals, and was selected for the Dolphins to compete at the World Para Swimming Championships in 2019. In London, she came seventh in the 100m backstroke, 50m freestyle and 100m freestyle.
Katja’s achievements in the pool saw her chosen as a bearer for the 2018 Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton on the Gold Coast, and in 2019 she was named Sporting Wheelies Most Improved Athlete of the Year.
At the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Katja won bronze in the 100m backstroke and the 400m freestyle, but didn’t know until the post-race interview because she was unable to read the results board.
“In receiving the SAHOF Scholarship it gives me great honour to know that I am amongst very successful athletes who have the same goals as me: achieving the best I can. With the support from SAHOF I am now able to be closer to succeeding and surpassing my goals.” – Katja Dedekind on being selected as a 2021 Tier 3 Scholarship Holder.
Awards, Honours & Achievements
- 2016: Paralympic Games, Rio – bronze and Oceania Record, 100m backstroke – S13
- 2016: Paralympic Games, Rio – 7th, 400m freestyle – S13
- 2018: Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Bearer
- 2018: Para Pan Paciﬁc Championships, Cairns – gold, 100m backstroke – S13
- 2018: Para Pan Paciﬁc Championships, Cairns – silver, 400m freestyle – S13
- 2018: Para Pan Paciﬁc Championships, Cairns – bronze, 200m Individual Medley – S13
- 2019: World Para Swimming Championships, London – 6th, 100m backstroke – S13
- 2019: World Para Swimming Championships, London – 6th, 50m & 100m freestyle
- 2019: World Para Swimming Championships, London – 6th, mixed 4x100m freestyle – 49 pts
- 2019: Sporting Wheelies Most Improved Athlete of the Year
- 2020: World Para Series, Melbourne – gold, women’s Open Multi-Class 100m backstroke
- 2020: World Para Series, Melbourne – silver, women’s Open Multi-Class 50m Freestyle
- 2020 (2021): Tokyo Paralympic Games – bronze, women’s 100m backstroke (S13)
- 2020 (2021): Tokyo Paralympic Games – bronze, women’s 400m freestyle (S13)
- 2020 (2021): Tokyo Paralympic Games – fourth, women’s 50m freestyle (S13)
- 2021: Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship Holder – Tier 3
“I would like to congratulate Col, Katja and Brendon on this terrific achievement, we are incredibly proud to have three swimmers selected in the program for 2021.
Both Col and Katja are already valued members of our Dolphins swim team and Brendon is a young swimmer that has shown great potential and they should be thrilled they have been chosen for this honour.
It is fantastic these athletes will also have the opportunity to be mentored by a Sport Australia Hall of Fame member, that sort of guidance from someone who has been at the pinnacle of their sport is priceless.” – Swimming Australia CEO, Leigh Russell