Poppy Wilson is a swimmer who was awarded a Tier 2 Scholarship within the 2024 Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship and Mentoring Program.
Poppy was born in Ipswich, Queensland in 2004 with Cerebral Palsy, though she was not diagnosed until she was nine months old. At four months old Poppy still could not hold her head up, her feet were always pointing down, her arms were always pointing behind her back, and she didn’t lose her baby reflexes. Poppy could not stand flat on her feet as she was on her toes and could not put her arms in front of her. Poppy struggled to drink and would take almost two hours to drink one bottle.
Poppy was referred to a physiotherapist at four months old, who she continued to see until she was two years old. In those two years of seeing the physiotherapist, Poppy’s parents had to teach Poppy a lot of things that come naturally to a baby, like putting her feet in her mouth, rolling, and sitting. Poppy always needed pillows around her as she could not balance and kept falling over. Keeping her feet flat and not pointing down involved a lot of brushing of the feet to keep them up. With the help of the physiotherapist and lot of exercises at home Poppy managed to walk at 15 months old.
At 18 months old Poppy’s paediatrician told her parents that if they had not done all the physiotherapy they did, she would never have walked and been in a wheelchair all her life. At two years old, Poppy went to occupational therapy to work on her fine motor skills. Poppy has tremors in both her hands, so eating with utensils was difficult and as she got older writing was a problem for her. Poppy could not tie shoelaces, pick up small objects, do up buttons, use scissors or any other fine motor skill you can think of.
Poppy tried many sports including dancing, hockey, gymnastics, cheerleading, and soccer. But has always loved the water and finds it the best place for her as she is weightless and finds that she can move easier in the water with her Cerebral Palsy.
Poppy started competing as a Para athlete in 2016 when she was classified, since then it has been a whirlwind of competitions and achievements. Six months after being classified, Poppy competed at her first short course Australian Nationals.
Poppy is aiming to make the Paralympics in Paris 2024. She is currently ranked 3rd internationally in the 100m butterfly and hopes to get on the dais for this event. She will keep striving towards breaking a World Record in the future. As a learn to swim teacher she hopes to keep encouraging young swimmers to achieve and learn.
“To be awarded the SAHOF scholarship is a huge honour and privilege, it will take the pressure off me and my family financially. This will give me the opportunity to concentrate on training and to be one step closer to achieving my dream of competing at the Paralympics” – Poppy Wilson on being selected as a 2024 Tier 2 Scholarship Holder
Honours & Achievements
- 2023 Made first Senior Australian Para team at Worlds in Manchester (Finalist 6th)
- 2023 Australian Swimming Championships – 2nd
- 2023 Senior Mets – 400m Freestyle 1st, 100m Butterfly 1st
- 2023 Awarded Sport Australia Hall of Fame Tier 2 Scholarship
- 2022 Open Water Championships – 3rd
- 2020/21 Australian Para Development Squad
- 2019/20 Australian Para Development Squad
- 2019 Australian Age Nationals 6 x gold, 2 x silver
- 2018 Australian Age Nationals 5 x bronze
- 2017 Australian Age Nationals 2 x bronze
Social Links | Instagram: @Poppyisabelle_