Just Keep Swimming

The countdown for the Tokyo 2021 Paralympic Games is on for aspiring Queensland Paralympian Jamie Booth.

Diagnosed with Choreoathetoid, a form of cerebral palsy which affected her legs and fine motor skills, Ms Booth, 19, first began swimming as a way to help relax her muscles and mind.

“My mother, dad and grandmother loved to swim, and it was a passion they shared with me,” Ms Booth said.

“Swimming really resonated with me and made me feel more relaxed and gave me the freedom to get out of my chair.”

After discovering her passion, Jamie joined the Para Start swimming team, a University of Queensland research project/swim team which investigates the effects swimming has on the wellbeing of people with cerebral palsy.  

As a part of the team, Ms Booth has swum in multiple competitions including the Queensland State Championship, where she broke the Australian record in the Open Women’s Multi Class 50m Backstroke by 12 seconds.

“I was in shock,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it happened.

“It wasn’t easy, and it took a lot of time and commitment, but it’s all worth it in the end.

“I’m the healthiest and fittest I have ever been. It’s given me a passion and new friends.”

Ms Booth, who is currently ranked number one in Australia for S2 backstroke 50m, said while her Paralympic training regime was interrupted due to the coronavirus pandemic, she has since been able to get back into the ‘stroke’ of things. 

“When Queensland first went into lockdown I had to do all my training at home. Luckily we have a pool, so I was able to get into the water,” she said.

“My training load was cut down significantly, and my overall fitness decreased. But for the most part, I have gotten back to my pre-lockdown levels.”

Ms Booth said the secret to her success was a positive mindset and spending time in the gym and pool, a plan she hopes will see her be selected for the Australian Paralympic swim team. 

“I’m training three times a week in the pool and the gym, but I’m trying to increase my training frequency in the lead up to the Paralympics,” she said.

“In the pool, I focus on technique and fitness by swimming a combination of fast and slow laps. 

“While in the gym, I focus on my strength and endurance by completing high reps of exercises, for example, 3x50 ball throws with a 3kg medicine ball.”

Ms Booth said her best piece of advice for anyone hoping to follow in her path was to “work hard and never up on your dreams.” 
 

Jamie Booth is currently training to qualify for the Tokyo 2021 Paralympic Games. Follow Jamie’s journey on her Instagram and Facebook via #JamiesWorldNeverGiveUp.

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Jamie getting out of the pool. Jamie is wearing a blue one-piece swimsuit. She has medium-length brown hair.