Leighton Buzzard swimmer set to compete at Paralympics in Paris as part of Team GB

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A Leighton Buzzard paralympic hopeful has won a place in Team GB in Paris this year.

Olivia Newman-Baronius took part in trials in April after an impressive start to 2024 which include equalling the Women’s S14 100m Butterfly world record at the Aquatics GB Swimming Championships in London.

She has also won European titles in the 100m Butterfly and 200m Individual Medley, in addition to a 200m Freestyle silver in Madeira.

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Her success comes after Olivia, who has been diagnosed with autism, spent 10 days in hospital during Covid suffering from sepsis. She lost all her muscle strength and was eventually diagnosed with gastroparesis. It took almost two years to return to full fitness.

A proud moment for 17-year-old swimmer Olivia Newman-Baronius who's been competing since she was sixA proud moment for 17-year-old swimmer Olivia Newman-Baronius who's been competing since she was six
A proud moment for 17-year-old swimmer Olivia Newman-Baronius who's been competing since she was six

The 17-year old has been swimming since she was competitively since she was six when she joined her local club, Linslade Crusaders. By the age of nine she was competing at county level and by 12, she was swimming nationally and joined the Swim England Talent Pathway.

Proud mum Emma, an equality, diversity and inclusion specialist, said Olivia has decided to focus fully on swimming and has left school, but is looking to continue her education at home after Paris, as well as being an ambassador to highlight that being neurodivergent It does not stop you achieving your dreams.

Emma says Olivia’s journey has been a series of victories both big and small, alongside some low points and accompanying heart ache: "But when I see her competing at such a high level, I catch myself thinking about her getting into the pool for the first time, wearing armbands."

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She said: "As a family we are immensely proud of everything Olivia has achieved, since she started swimming she has dreamed of going to the Olympics and her dream has come true. In a few months we have witnessed Olivia achieve British, European and world records. We are excited to see where her journey takes her and see her compete for team GB.

“The support from friends, family and Maxwell Swimming Club (in Aylesbury) has been amazing. We would also like to thank Head Coach Tom Elgar (Maxwell SC), Aquatics GB and Swim England for all of their support and guidance."