Local Smithers Paralympian on track for Tokyo 2020
Jonathan Dieleman, 33 is working hard to land on the podium in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic games for swimming.
Over the Summer Dieleman broke the Canadian 100-meter breaststroke record for his new classification by 12 seconds.
Dieleman started swing after he became paralyzed from a dirt bike injury back in 2010.
“After I broke my back I got into the pool as a way of getting out of my wheelchair and as a way of my self-rehabilitation. It felt nice to have no pressure or anything and be the same as everyone else in the water,” said Dieleman.
At the 2015 Toronto Parapan Am Games, Dieleman finished with a silver medal for 50-meter Breaststroke and at the Rio 2016 games in 5th place for the same category.
Dieleman says he is currently practicing six to eight times a week at both the Smithers and Houston community pools.
In a few weeks, he is heading to Arizona for the U.S. Paralympics Swimming Para National Championships.
Dieleman says the goal is to stay down there for practice until the World Championship qualifiers in Toronto in April, but it depends on how much he can raise in funding.
Motion Specialties, a national accessibility equipment distributor, is currently Dieleman only sponsor giving him $10,000 a year to help him train and compete.
Dieleman says more sponsors are still needed to afford to stay in Arizona and compete in competitions overseas this summer.
He says the goal is still “to be on the podium in Tokyo.”