Swim star Mwaba Mkwasa hopes recent milestones can help fulfil Paralympic dreams

After a landmark 2022 season, Mkwasa hopes that she can continue progressing with a Paralympic debut in her sights

Swim star Mwaba Mkwasa hopes recent milestones can help fulfil Paralympic dreams

By Oli Dickson Jefford, Sportsbeat

Norwich swim star Mwaba Mkwasa reckons recent milestones can help her fulfil her Paralympic potential.

Mkwasa, 17, has been competing in para swimming events for over half a decade and has claimed an array of notable achievements to celebrate.

Significant success has only served to fuel her ambitions further with the biggest events in the world her long-term goal.

“The thing I’m most proud of is getting selected for the Team England Futures programme by SportsAid season. I thought it was a really valuable and informative experience,” said Mkwasa, who is supported by SportsAid and Girdlers Livery and was speaking ahead of SportsAid Week 2023.

“The SportsAid support has been really helpful, especially with paying for all the competitions and all the equipment, everything for me to be able to continue competing. It’s another source of motivation because it’s driven me to work harder, which enables me to do everything that I’ve done so far.

“At Winter Nationals in December 2022 I came second in the 50m backstroke, so that was one of my highest rankings so far.

“I hope to get selected onto the British Talent Programme because at the minute I’m on the English one - I’m hoping to move on and progress, and hopefully be selected for future World Championships and Paralympic Games.”

SportsAid Week 2023 is coming, with the annual initiative, which was launched in 2016, taking place from Monday 6 March to Sunday 12 March.

This year’s theme focuses on ‘Accessibility and Inclusion’ as the charity shines a spotlight on the country’s most talented young athletes and celebrates the incredible work being undertaken by its partners to support the future of British sport.

Having started swimming lessons at the age of four, Mkwasa eventually returned to the pool after losing her arm after a car accident aged seven.

Competing in the pool has given her level of fulfilment throughout her career, though she believes more can be done to welcome prospective para-athletes.

“I used to do gymnastics as well before the accident happened, but obviously I couldn’t go back into that,” added Mkasa, who is funded by SportsAid and commercial partner Girdlers Livery.

“At first I didn’t really like swimming that much because I was at a swimming club with able-bodied swimmers, so I always found myself behind, but I remember I went to a competition when I was around ten and I really liked it, and when I was 11 I went to my first para competition.

“I got talent spotted when I was around 12 and that’s how I started competing alongside other para swimmers at a regional and national level.

“I would say swimming gave me something to work hard at and it helped me set goals. It made me realise that I’m capable of a lot more than I ever thought I was or that I would be. I think that’s what swimming has given me, a sense of purpose.

“I think inclusion and accessibility are important in sport as it increases the diversity of athletes opening sports up to more people to participate. Para swimming gives people like me an equal and fair opportunity to pursue the sport and progress.

“However, I feel that there can be improvements in areas such as coverage of para sport, and making all sports facilities accessible.

“At some pools, it’s been difficult for the para swimmers to get into and out of the pool, and I feel like this is an area that is not considered of great importance as it doesn’t affect able bodied swimmers.”

SportsAid Week 2023 takes place from Monday 6 March to Sunday 12 March! Join us for a dedicated week of fun and awareness-raising based around theme of accessibility and inclusion. Please visit