41262-Hannah van Wijk photo

Hannah van Wijk



Impairment information

Origin of Impairment
S10, SB9, SM10

Further personal information

New Zealand

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She began swimming at age seven.
Why this sport?
Swimming was one of the few activities she was able to do, and she quickly developed a passion for it. It also helped her regain muscle strength lost through the condition dermatomyositis, diagnosed at age seven. "I like racing because it's fun."
Club / Team
Dannevirke ASC: New Zealand
Name of coach
Lin Tozer
Training Regime
She trains twice daily in the pool for a total of 10 hours a week. She also spends three hours a week in the gym, two hours in spin classes and walks eight kilometres daily to and from the gym.

General interest

Hero / Idol
New Zealand Para swimmers Sophie Pascoe and Tupou Neiufi. (, 01 Jan 2018;, 22 Jan 2018)
Awards and honours
She was named the 2017/18 Dannevirke ASC Swimmer of the Year. (Facebook page, 18 Feb 2019)
To compete at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (, 22 Jan 2018; Facebook page, 18 Feb 2019)
She was born the youngest of three triplets, 12 weeks premature and had to be resuscitated three times. She had a large hole in her brain and a perforated bowel in three places, and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. At age seven she developed a rare muscle disease called dermatomyositis. (, 01 Jan 2018;, 02 Aug 2018;, 31 Jan 2019)
Other information
Her mother Denise says swimming has helped Hannah gain independence. Although there are some activities she cannot do, and she has difficulty retaining information, through swimming she has learned how to cook, clean and manage her own finances. "[Hannah] also holds down a part time job at the pool as a cleaner to help with travel costs. In addition, Hannah also helps her coach with training the younger swimmers when she can." (, 02 Aug 2018)