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Jessica Ashwood’s Scoliosis Story

Jessica Ashwood currently holds the Australian record for both the 400m and 800m freestyle. Jessica was diagnosed in her early teens with a severe S-shaped scoliosis. She has forgone both scoliosis surgery and scoliosis bracing because both treatments would end her career.

jessica ashwood for office

Her S-curve creates a challenge as it affects her balance both in and out of water and weakens one of her arms. This causes Ashwood to swim crooked so she has developed a unique stroke technique to compensate for the uneven strength and position in the water.

jessica ashwood stroke technique
Jessica Ashwood (right) competing against USA’s Leah Smith (left) in 400 m freestyle at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Ashwood suffers from significant neck and back pain and must have two physiotherapy sessions a week after training to realign her spine.

You CAN be an Olympic Swimmer with a Twisted Spine