30721-Rachael Watson photo

Rachael Watson



Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Cerebral Palsy, Impaired muscle power
S4, SB3, SM4

Further personal information


Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She was classified as an S4 swimmer in 2015.
Why this sport?
She first took up swimming as a form of physiotherapy and pain relief. She was spotted by national team coaches at the 2016 Australian national championships, and made her international debut a few months later at a meet in Berlin, Germany.
Club / Team
Chandler Swimming Club: Brisbane, QLD, AUS
Name of coach
Brendan Burkett [national], AUS

International debut

Competing for
Berlin, GER

General interest

Volunteering, music. (, 01 Jan 2020)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning gold in the S4 50m freestyle at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (, 01 Jan 2019)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Dream, believe, achieve." (, 01 Jan 2020)
Awards and honours
In January 2017 she received the Medal of the Order of Australia [OAM] in recognition of her gold medal at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (, 28 Jan 2017)

In 2016 she received the Australian Institute of Sport [AIS] Discovery of the Year award at the Swimming Australia gala dinner. (, 24 Nov 2016)
She was born nearly four months premature, and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at age two. At age 21 she acquired Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare neurological disorder in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks the peripheral nervous system. (, 2016;, 01 Jun 2016)
Other information
She is an ambassador for the Guillain-Barre Syndrome Foundation of Australia. She also volunteers at Queensland Children's Hospital in Brisbane, QLD, Australia, and was named the 2011 Queensland Young Volunteer of the Year in Australia. (, 24 Aug 2021; Athlete, 17 Jun 2021; Facebook profile, 15 Apr 2019;, 2016)


Unit Date Rank
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Mixed 4x50 m Freestyle 20pts Final Round 2016-09-09 6
Mixed 4x50 m Freestyle 20pts Heat 2 2016-09-09 4
Women's 150 m Individual Medley SM4 Heat 1 2016-09-12 6
Women's 50 m Breaststroke SB3 Heat 1 2016-09-14 5
Women's 50 m Freestyle S4 Heat 1 2016-09-17 1
Women's 50 m Freestyle S4 Final Round 2016-09-17 1