Six Spartans heading to Games staging camp

University of the Sunshine Coast

Six USC Spartans swimmers and their coach Nathan Doyle will travel to Cairns this weekend for a Swimming Australia staging camp ahead of the Tokyo Paralympic Games.

Four of the six swimmers – Katja Dedekind, Keira Stephens, Ruby Storm and Ben Hance – were announced as Australian Paralympic team members immediately after the 2021 Australian Swimming Trials in mid-June.

Two other athletes – Blake Cochrane and Braedan Jason – swam qualifying times at the trials but had to wait until recently for confirmation of their selection for the Tokyo Games that will start on 24 August.

Blake, who graduated from USC last year with a degree in Clinical Exercise Science, is now a four-time Paralympian with four Paralympic medals to his name.

He won silver in breaststroke in Beijing in 2008, two gold medals at the London Games in 2012 in breaststroke and the 4x100m freestyle, and silver again in breaststroke at Rio in 2016.

Braedan, a recent USC Journalism graduate, and Katja, who is studying a Bachelor of Arts, made their Paralympic debuts in Rio, with Katja winning a bronze medal in the 100m backstroke.

Head coach of the Australian Paralympic Swimming Team for Tokyo is USC academic Professor Brendan Burkett, who is a four-time Paralympian and a long-term member of the Australian coaching team.

He attended the 1988 Seoul, 1992 Barcelona, 1996 Atlanta and 2000 Sydney Games as a competitor and the 2004 Athens, 2008 Beijing, 2012 London and 2016 Rio Games as a sport scientist.

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