Name: Jade Calverley
What is your dream?
My first dream is to be a medalist at the Dwarf Games in 2017, held in Canada. This international competition is held for people who have short stature and is a once in a lifetime experience to interact and be a part of a team who each understand what it is like to have this disability. As well as this competition, my long term goal is to be a Paralympian.
Tell us a bit about you.
I have been swimming since a young age, as it was a way to help heal the pain in my back, due to having dwarfism. In 2011, I was invited to SAPSASA, where I received two out of three possible gold medals, and this was where it all started. I loved the idea of people believing in my swimming because they knew I had something special, not because they felt sorry for me. Since then I have enjoyed competitive swimming around Australia in State Championships, National Age Championships and Open National Championships.
How have you demonstrated commitment?
I think the perfect example of me showing commitment and persistence in swimming, is during state championships. In 2014 at Short Course State Championships it was my first time trying to qualify for Australian Championships. I already qualified for three events but I was determined to make a fourth. I swum the freestyle in a personal best time, but missed the qualifying by 0.2 seconds. My coach and I went down the officials’ office and asked if I could swim again, by myself, in front of hundreds of swimming spectators in order to try and qualify. After having everyone’s support, I finished the race, came away from it with a bettered time than I did the day before and another qualification for Australian short course.
What challenges do you face?
My real challenge I face each day is bullying. When I was younger I used to let it hurt me and I used to let it win, but now I’m stronger, all because of my confidence from swimming. It still brings up bad memories, but I don’t let it define me and the person I am. This is my major challenge; learning to live with the little comments people say, but I have learnt to ignore the bad and only take in the good, as should everybody else.
How will you use the money?
The main way the grant will be used is to get me to both Open National Championships and Age National Championships, where I will once again be given the opportunity to compete against other swimmers across the country. If I receive this grant I will put some of the money aside for training gear which will help push me mentally and physically. As well as these things, it is important I have a proper wearable pair of racing bathers.
How do you plan to give back?
My community is extremely important to me and without them I wouldn’t be where I am today. One of the things I would like to do to help them, in particular disabled people, is volunteer my time throughout schools, and centres by interacting and sharing bonds with those who have a disability. I also hope to help children and elderly and anyone in between with their swimming, by teaching swimming lessons and running fitness programs in the water to teach children the importance of safety, how to look themselves and others in the water as well as helping them maintain a healthy, happy outlook on life.