National Teams

Para-Swimming Team

Shelby Newkirk

  • Age 27
  • Height 182 cm / 6 ftin
  • Club Saskatoon Lasers Swim Club
  • Coach Ryan Jones
  • Previous Coaches Eric Kramer
  • Hometown Saskatoon, SK
  • Residence Saskatoon, SK

National Team Highlights

Madeira 2022 World Para Swimming Championships15
Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games1
London 2019 World Para Swimming Championships12
Cairns 2018 Pan Pacific Para Swimming Championships114

Shelby’s Bio

  • At the 2023 Bell Canadian Swimming Trials in Toronto, Newkirk claimed multi-class gold medals in the women’s 50-m freestyle and 100 backstroke, as well as silver in the 100 free. She set Canadian S6 records in the 50 (33.36)and 100 free (1:14.52).
  • Her performance qualified her for the 2023 World Para Swimming Championships team in Manchester, England.
  • At the 2022 Ken Demchuk International Invitational, Newkirk broke the Canadian record in the 200-m backstroke S6 in a time of 3:03.14.
  • At the Madeira 2022 World Para Swimming Championships, Newkirk won gold in the 100-m backstroke S6. She placed 4th in both the 50-m freestyle S6 and the 100-m freestyle S6, where she broke the Canadian record. Newkirk was also a member of the mixed 4×50-m medley 20 points relay that placed 8th and the mixed 4×100-m medley 34 points relay that placed 8th. Both relays broke Canadian records.
  • At the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, Newkirk set Canadian records in every event in which she competed at her first Games. Newkirk finished fourth in the women’s 100-m backstroke S6 and ninth in the women’s 50-m freestyle S6. Newkirk competed up a class and finished 11th in the 100-m freestyle S7 and set a Canadian record in the S6 sport class.
  • At the 2018 Pan Pacific Para Swimming Championships, Newkirk won gold in the 100-m back S7. She was also a part of the women’s 4×100-m medley relay that took home bronze.
  • At the London 2019 World Para Swimming Championships, Newkirk claimed her first medal in her first career appearance at worlds, silver in the 100-m backstroke S7. She also competed in the 50-m freestyle S7 (9th) and 100-m freestyle S7 (14th), and helped the 4×100-m medley relay 34 points to a fourth-place finish. Thanks to her performance in the 100 back, she was nominated to the Canadian Paralympic Committee to represent the country at Tokyo 2020.
  • At the 2019 Canadian Swimming Trials in Toronto, Newkirk broke her own S7 world record in the women’s multi-class 100-m backstroke preliminaries, before winning gold in the evening final. She also broke the world record in the 200 backstroke. She added a multi-class bronze medal in the 100-m freestyle.
  • At the 2022 Bell Canadian Swimming Trials Newkirk won the 50-m and 100-m backstroke multi-class events, and took silver in the 100 free, setting S6 Canadian records in all three events.  Her performances qualified her for the 2022 World Para Swimming Championships.
  • Shelby Newkirk won gold and broke her own world record twice in the S7 100-metre backstroke at the 2018 Canadian Swimming Trials in Edmonton. She also captured silver in the 100-m freestyle and bronze in the 50-m butterfly.
  • Swimming Canada’s 2017 and 2018 Female Para-swimmer of the Year.
  • Shelby Newkirk set a world record in the S7 50-m backstroke at the 2018 World Para Swimming World Series in Berlin.
  • At the 2017 Para-swimming Canadian Open, Newkirk broke the world record in the 100-m backstroke.
  • Entering the Mexico City 2017 World Para Swimming Championships, she holds three Canadian records, including the S7 100-m backstroke, which she considers her best event.
  • At the 2017 Canada Summer Games, Newkirk captured six medals, including four gold in the 50-m freestyle, 100-m backstroke and breaststroke, and the 200-m individual medley.
  • At the 2017 Canadian Swimming Championships, Newkirk claimed silver in the 50-m freestyle in a personal best time.
  • At the 2017 Can Am Para-swimming Championships, Newkirk took home three gold medals in the 50-m freestyle, the 100-m freestyle and the 100-m backstroke event. She also added a bronze medal in the 50-m butterfly.
  • Newkirk’s biggest influence is her first swim coach, Karen Williams, who taught her so much about para-sport and about her disability.
  • Newkirk comes from a competitive athletic family, including her younger brother Cole, who is a 6-foot-8 basketball player.
  • Newkirk started swimming in 2012 as a new outlet for her competitive spirit when she began developing generalized dystonia, a progressive neurological disorder similar to Parkinson’s that affects movement, balance and coordination. She played basketball, volleyball and competed in track until age 13.
Quick Facts

Twitter: @shelby_newkirk

Instagram: @shelbylnewkirk

Favourite Movie: The Proposal

Favourite Book: Harry Potter (the whole series)

Favourite TV Show: Rizzoli and Isles, Bones and Corner Gas

Favourite Actor: Daniel Radcliffe

Favourite band: Thomas Rhett, The Reklaws, or anything country

Place to Visit: Iceland or anywhere tropical

Music behind the blocks: Country

Pre-race Meal: Pasta

Guilty Pleasure: Anything chocolate

Shelby’s Personal Bests

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200m Freestyle25mGoldfins Winter Classic---
50m Backstroke25mPanAM OPen---
50m Freestyle50mCanadian Trials---
100m Freestyle50mCanadian Trials---
200m Freestyle50mManSask Provincial Championships---
200m Backstroke50mCanadian Swimming Trials---
100m Backstroke50mCanadian Swimming Trials---
200m Medley25mManSask Championships Short Course Open Championships
100m Freestyle25mManSask Championships Short Course Open Championships---
200m Backstroke25mManSask Championships Short Course Open Championships---
100m Backstroke25mManSask Championships Short Course Open Championships---
50m Freestyle25mManSask Championships Short Course Open Championships---
50m Freestyle Laps25mGoldfins InvitationalRELAY
400m Freestyle50mLasers Invitational
200m Medley50mLasers Invitational
50m Backstroke50mLasers Invitational---
200m Breaststroke50mBrainsport Winter Classic
50m Breaststroke50mBrainsport Winter Classic
50m Breaststroke25mGoldfins 40th Annual Invitational
200m Breaststroke25mGoldfins 40th Annual Invitational
50m Butterfly50mCanadian Para-swimming Trials
50m Butterfly25mBisons SC Sprint/IM Invitational
100m Butterfly25mWestern Canada Summer Games
100m Butterfly50mCan Am Para-swimming Championships
100m Medley25mPrairie Winter International
400m Freestyle25mPrairie Winter International
100m Breaststroke25mPrairie Winter International
100m Breaststroke50mCanada Games