Special Olympics Wellington’s Paula Dixon has a secret. She’s a bit scared of the ocean, and yet the water plays an integral part in her life. Paula has been involved in waka ama for years, training on Wellington’s (often choppy) harbour, and acting as Club Representative on the regional body.
It’s fair to say her comfort zone is in the relative safety of the pool, where twice a week she trains Special Olympics Wellington athletes. Paula swam competitively for five years during high school and has been coaching in some form since age 13. Paula has been working with Special Olympics Wellington for 12 years after being ‘recruited’ by Special Olympics Wellington Head Aquatics Coach Maria Smith who she worked with at Inland Revenue (“I mentioned I used to swim, she asked what I was doing that Sunday, and the rest is history,” she says).
“Right now the athletes are focused on continuing to build their general swim fitness. This includes preparing for their specific events, with stoke and distance training, and also undertaking their own fitness work outside our training sessions,” says Paula.