Montage of Tegan Reder

Tegan Reder is a relative newcomer to swimming. She started only four years ago after participating in a variety of other sports — gymnastics, dancing, tee ball, horse riding and horse vaulting.

But swimming was different for Tegan: “Being blind wasn't really that much of a barrier. I am just the same as every other swimmer.”

Tegan’s mum Kathryn said she was always a determined young girl: “If you told her something may be a bit harder due to her vision impairment, she would do anything to prove you wrong and give it a go.”

“KidSport has always played an integral part of Tegan's participation in sport, especially when she was younger, it was sometimes hard to get the funding together to pay the fees. It helped me to enrol Tegan in clubs that may not have been possible otherwise. I could also meet other parents in similar situations that we were in,” Kathryn said.

Kathryn believes playing sport helped Tegan in other areas, “we noticed that she started to make more friends and seemed to have more of a positive outlook on life. She really looked forward to not only competitions but the training as well. It filled a void and has given her more purpose.”

“Sport has helped me to keep fit, but it’s also taught me resilience and how to control my emotions. I can bring these skills into the classroom at school when things become challenging,” Tegan said.

In her four years of swimming Tegan has competed in state championships, broken Australian records and is now hoping to make it to the 2024 Paralympics in Paris.

"I have already achieved so much in my life and am always setting myself goals. I have been selected to be part of the national para-swimming development squad and know that if I keep working hard it’s ‘Paris, here I come!’” she said.

“When swimming, I feel free. I love to get into the headspace, feel the water around me and have that good feeling of finishing a super hard session.”

Page reviewed 18 November 2021