Ashley eyes Tokyo 2020

Ashley Van Rijswijk (centre) receives the gold medal after her success in the 100m breaststroke final at the NSW Open State Championships early this month.

Ashley Van Rijswijk is becoming synonymous with NSW and Australian swimming records and could soon be representing Australia at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

Ashley is a multi class swimmer, classified S14 and competes with other swimmers who have an intellectual disability.

 The 18-year-old had already owned the Australian under 17s, 50m breaststroke and the Australia under 18s, 50m and 100m breaststroke records.

Ashley now owns her own open Australian record, having swum the 100m breaststroke in a time of 1min 20.31sec.

Competing at the NSW State Championships between March 13 and 15, Ashley had 10 swims across seven events, breaking her personal best in each of her 10 swims.

Ashley won gold in her pet event; the 100m breaststroke and will now head to the Australian Championships between the 7 and 12 April.

Most importantly, Ashley has achieved a qualifying time for the Australian Swim Team and is currently ranked in the top 7 in the world for the S14 class for the 100m breaststroke event.

Ashley’s performance at the Australian Championships will be imperative to her chances of being selected for Australia to compete at the Para World Championships to be held later this year.

These are just mere stepping-stones for the young Tumut swimmer with Ashley currently training for the Tokyo 2020 paralympics.

“I train seven times a week and Tokyo is my main goal,” she said.

After graduating from Gadara in 2018, Ashley has been balancing the rigours of competing and training fulltime, while also working part time.

Ashley was one of the new Learn To Swim teachers at Tumut this year and was passing on her years of valuable swim training and knowledge to our youngest swimmers.

“It was fun teaching the kids,” she said,

“Sometimes I would miss a shift or have to miss a training session but I balanced everything in the end.”

Wagga swim club coach Gennadiy Labara wasn’t concerned about Ashley’s work impacting her training.

“We had to find a balanced training regime at first that considered her working hours, which took a little time,” he said.

“After Ashley settled into her work and training regime, I could see her thriving with the whole experience.”

Ashley’s dedication to achieve the ultimate success comes with some sacrifice, especially with the daily trips to Wagga Wagga and Saturday trips to Canberra for her training.

She has had the opportunity to work with Australian Institute of Sport’s Paralympic swim team in Canberra and they have been helping Ashley refine her stroke.

“They have been helping me with my technique and my overall training method,” she said.