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"Swimming is really important because I get to have goals and have something to reach for"

Chloe Osborn - Swimmer & Instructor
Chloe Osborn - Swimmer & Instructor -

Chloe Osborn is kicking goals in the pool. The athlete and learn-to-swim teacher at the Hawkesbury Oasis has overcome significant health challenges to achieve her dream of selection in the Paralympic Games to be held in July 2024 in Paris. 

As a child, Chloe Osborn was big on sports and particularly obsessed with soccer. But when she was just 12 years old, she received shattering news that ground all familiar aspects of her young life to a halt. Chloe was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma, a rare and aggressive cancer occurring in bones or the soft tissue around them. For Chloe, the cancer was in her spine. Vital surgery to remove Chloe’s tumour resulted in some nerve damage and a spinal injury. At the time, her physio recommended swimming to maintain her strength, keep her muscles moving and help manage her pain.

“Because of my spinal injury I wasn’t allowed to play contact sports or anything where there was impact, so no running or anything like that,” Chloe said.

“Swimming was pretty much the last sport that I was actually allowed to do, and I was always really big on sports, so it was really important that I kept doing something active.

“I guess as it was my only option, I channelled everything into it and I wanted to do the best that I could.”

Chloe first began hitting the pool once or twice each week at the Hawkesbury Oasis. As her illness and treatment meant she missed out on the first two formative years of High School, she joined the Y NSW squad for the opportunity to connect and make friends her own age.

In the squad she started swimming four times a week and her competitive potential rose rapidly to the surface.

Maybe just like Chloe at the Hawkesbury Oasis where she first fell in love with swimming

Diving into new waters: Multi Class swimming

Since Chloe’s coach at Oasis first encouraged her to get involved in the wide world of Multi Class swimming, the sport has become central to her life.

The Multi Class system groups swimmers with disabilities into different classifications to provide a fair racing opportunity. Athletes are classified into 1 of the 15 classifications based on their ability, racing against their world records rather than whoever else is in the pool. The swimmer closest to their classification’s world record wins.

Chloe entered her first competition, a local carnival, when she was 15.

“I was so excited about it beforehand, but when it got to it, I was absolutely freaking out. I was putting on one of those really tight race suits. It was the first time I'd tried to put it on, and I tore a hole in it. That wasn’t the greatest thing to happen at my first race,” she laughed.

Despite the wardrobe malfunction, Chloe made a personal best and was hooked on the thrill of racing and the atmosphere of comps.

“I love it because when you go to a carnival you get to meet so many amazing people and make so many friends,” she said.

“Everyone you meet in the Multi Class system is so friendly and incredible. They've all got their own amazing stories.”

Among the greats: Chloe at the airport on the way to the 2021 Australian Swimming Trials in Adelaide.
Chloe after placing third and winning bronze in the 100m freestyle at 2020 National Multiclass Championships in April on the Gold Coast.

In 2020 she qualified for the 50 and 100 freestyle events at the Australian Paralympic swimming trials in Adelaide, where she achieved a personal best in the 100 and a season best in the 50. 


Commenting on her role as a learn-to-swim teacher, Chloe said “I love being able to try to help kids to first learn how to swim, and then encourage them to start competing and getting into swimming and loving it as much as I do. “I want to progress to a coaching level so I can help kids that are competing as well, that’s a bit of a goal of mine.”

Find out more about aquatics at Hawkesbury Oasis

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