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Paula Dixon

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).

Paula now works for Land Information New Zealand providing strategic support to the General Manager and leadership team. She also takes a strategic approach to swim training.

“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.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing the team as fit and healthy as they can be at the Games. It’s an amazing opportunity and I’m sure we’ll see some great results. I’m also looking forward to watching the athletes get among the activities being arranged, and interacting with athletes from other countries, and hopefully making some new long-term friendships. That goes for me too. The Asia Pacific Games are a great opportunity for me to learn from others and enhance my own skill set,” she says. 

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