At the age of 13, Nikita Howarth became New Zealand’s youngest ever Paralympian. We caught up with her to get a glimpse into her life.


You’ve been swimming on a competitive level since your youth. How has this impacted your education? What advice or tips would you give to other teenagers who are trying to balance the sporting side of their life with their education?

Since I started swimming at such a young age, I’ve found that balancing swimming and school was easy. My advice to young New Zealanders who struggle to balance school and sport is that you don’t get unlimited chances to be the best at your sport, but you do have your whole life to learn.

At the age of 13 you represented our country at the IPC Swimming World Championships in Canada and won gold. How would you describe the experience to somebody who hasn’t played sport on an international level?

It feels pretty special doing something for your country at the age of 13, it gives you a buzz to strive higher.

What advice would you give to swimmers who also want to represent their country on an international level?

Just to keep pushing for it, because if you really want it, you will get it.

What goals and aspirations do you have in terms of your swimming career, and how do you plan on achieving them?

I have many goals [like] to win medals and do personal bests. But my big goal is to after the race feel like I’ve done everything in my power to swim the fastest time I can.

What goals and aspirations do you have for yourself that do not relate to your swimming career?

One day after swimming I think it would be awesome to represent my country in cycling.

You’re still a school student, if you had the opportunity to speak to all of the youth of NZ in one assembly, what would you say to them?

Every hour that you put in towards your sport or hobby is worth it when you’re standing on the podium hearing the national anthem of our country being played.

Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time? Would it be competing full-time, or making headway down a different career path?

I think I will be still doing some sport, whether it be swimming or cycling.