Lakeisha Patterson Talks ‘Focusing on Herself’ During Worlds Racing (VIDEO)


  • September 9-15, 2019
  • London Aquatics Centre, London, England
  • Prelims 10 a.m. local time/finals 6 p.m.
  • Full results

Australian veteran Lakeisha Patterson, who nabbed a world title in the women’s S9 400 free Friday in London, caught up with SwimSwam after her race to break down her strategy and talk about her impairment.

“I can’t control what anybody else is doing, so I’ve got t0 just zone in, focus on myself during the race, and not really focus on what  everyone else is doing,” Patterson said. “When I breathe to the left, I can kind of see them a little bit behind me, so that does drive me to keep it going.”

She goes on to explain her impairment. Patterson, 20, was recently classed up from S8 to S9; she earned six S8 medals (including two gold) at the 2016 Paralympics. She went 4:38.29 in the 400 Friday, winning by five seconds and setting a new Oceania record. The world record, set by Natalie Du Toit in 2008, sits at 4:23.81.

Patterson went on to discuss how her impairment affects her swimming.

“I have cerebral palsy left hemiplegia, which means the left side of my body – my arm, trunk and left leg is all impaired – leaving me with loss of coordination, balance and some other issues, so in the water, I’m really just powering home on the right side of my body, which can be quite hard to balance, so I’ve got to really work on my core and move through the water as fast as I can.”

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Honestly, how stupid does she think people are? People are not buying it “Lucky”. Love to hear her explain the straight arm perfect streamline dive followed by the bent left arm fly, very bent left arm backstroke, normal breaststroke and perfectly balanced freestyle with normal arms (just curled up fingers). Any chance someone can ask her about all that Swimswam?


She has zero understanding of Cerebral Palsy and she most certainly did not power home on the right side of her body. Pity SS didn’t ask her why sometimes her hand isn’t clawed,, why she only has a palsied arm in back and fly but not in free, breast and dive, why she has no signs of atrophy or spasticity, why she balances on her left leg for long period of times and what the heck happened to her Early Onset Parkinsons Disease. Sad, very sad. “I have cerebral palsy left hemiplegia, which means the left side of my body – my arm, trunk and left leg is all impaired – leaving me with loss of coordination, balance and some… Read more »


Mary posted on an earlier story that Patterson’s classification history is S10,NE,S9,S7,S8 and now S9. Pray tell what the heck type of Left Hemiplegic CP is this? A link to some grant she received, she cannot even pronounce Cerebral Palsy: ‘Lakeisha has beaten the challenges of cerebral palsy, epilepsy and early onset Parkinson’s disease to be a world-class swimmer. AMP’s Tomorrow Fund is helping the Queenslander to fulfill her Rio Paralympics dream.’ What has happened to her Early Onset Parkinsons Disease … cured? Why would a swimmer with CP and PD be classified NE then S7 then S9? Why has she stopped stating that she was born with CP and PD (I mean as if). Can a swimmer with… Read more »


Well said CONFUSED.

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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