Profile

Kerri-Anne Weston
(nee Connor)

Date of Birth:

3 April 1963

Place of Birth:

Atherton Tablelands

Inducted:

20 May 1999

At the age of 4 Kerri-Anne used to jump into swimming pools with gay abandon but couldn't swim to save herself. So her mother enrolled her in learn to swim classes. Kerri-Anne got a taste for competitive swimming after she win a gold medal in a local meet upstaging all before her in the under 7's 50m backstroke. As a teenager Kerri-Anne played squash, basketball, water ballet, and became one of the first females in Australia to achieve her bronze medal for surf lifesaving at Nobby's Beach Surf Club.

On New Years Eve in December 1980, Kerri-Anne was struck down with Transverse Myelitis (viral inflammation of the spinal chord). The 17 year old spent most of 1981 in the Spinal Unit at Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital her illness resulting in Paraplegia.

In the same year Kerri-Anne began training in the pool for the Australian National Wheelchair Games. In her very first national competition Kerri-Anne won five gold medals and gained selection in the Australian team bound for the World Disabled Games in England in 1982.

Under Master Coach Laurie Lawrence Kerri-Anne set a new World Record winning gold in the 50m butterfly, silver in the 100m freestyle, and bronze in the 100m breaststroke. Upon her return to the Gold Coast Kerri-Anne was named Queensland Sporting Wheelie of the Year, and Most Improved Athlete of the Year. Kerri-Anne also took out the Junior Athlete of the Year (an able bodied award) at the coveted Confederation of Australian Sports Awards.

The next major goal for Kerri-Anne was the World Games in England the following year. She won 4 silver and 1 bronze medals, a timely performance before the Paralympics in 1984.

In the Paralympic year Kerri-Anne set out to lose as much body fat as possible. What she didn't foresee was a vitamin deficiency, that left her without enough fat soluble vitamins, and trying to persuade team doctors she was healthy enough to go to the Games in England. They gave her the nod and despite requiring constant medical attention Kerri-Anne won 5 silver medals.

Kerri-Anne returned from the Games and changed sports to basketball. There were no women playing at the time so she successfully tried out for the Men's State team. Kerri-Anne went on to play for the Australian Women's disabled team.

But her World Cup aspirations came to an end when she discovered that she was expecting her first child.