Quick facts


June 25, 1996






Para Swimming




Paris 2024

Tokyo 2020

Shelby Newkirk qualified for her second Paralympic Games beating the A standard in both the S6 100m backstroke and 50m freestyle at the 2024 Paralympic swimming trials. Just before the trials she broke the world record in the 50m backstroke at a World Series stop in Indianapolis.

At the 2023 World Para Swimming Championships in Manchester, Newkirk successfully defended her World Para Swimming Title in the 100-metre backstroke, setting a Canadian record. She then won a bronze medal in the 50-metre freestyle, and finished fifth in the 100-metre freestyle.

At the Madeira 2022 World Para Swimming Championships, Newkirk won gold in the 100-m backstroke S6. She placed fourth in both the 50-m freestyle and the 100-m freestyle, 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 her first Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Newkirk set Canadian records in every event in which she entered. She finished fourth in the women’s 100-m backstroke and also set national marks in the 50-m freestyle and 100-m freestyle.

At the London 2019 World Para Swimming Championships, Shelby Newkirk claimed her first medal in her first career appearance at worlds, silver in the 100-m backstroke S7. Thanks to that performance in the 100 back, she was nominated to the Canadian Paralympic Committee to represent the country at Tokyo 2020, her first Paralympic Games.

She broke world records in both 2017 and 2018 in the 50m backstroke and 100m backstroke and was named Swimming Canada’s Female Para swimmer of the Year both seasons.

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.

Her biggest influence is her first swim coach, Karen Williams, who taught her so much about Para sport and about her disability.

Out of the pool, Newkirk has a passion for crocheting and runs two of her own businesses – Crafty Prairie Girl, where she sells custom made crochet items, and Accessible Life, where she shares products that can help make life more accessible for others.


2020 Paralympic Games… 2019, 2022, 2023 IPC World Championships… Swimming Canada’s 2017 and 2018 Female Para swimmer of the Year… Named Saskatchewan’s  2018 Female Athlete of the Year…


At age 13 she was diagnosed with dystonia after her right foot started cramping and spasming uncontrollably. The condition affects her movement, balance, coordination and resulted in her losing the use of her right foot… In 2022 graduated in physical education  at the University of Saskatchewan… Her mother played basketball for the University of Saskatchewan, and her younger brother, 6’8’’ Cole has played basketball at junior provincial level.


2023 World Championships 100m backstroke 1st

2023 World Championships 50m freestyle 3rd

2023 World Championships 100m freestyle 5th

2022 World Championships 100m backstroke 1st

2022 World Championships 50m freestyle 4th

2022 World Championships 100m freestyle 4th

2022 World Championships 4X50 mixed medley relay 8th

2022 World Championships 4X100 mixed medley relay 8th

2021 Paralympic Games 100m backstroke 4th

2019 IPC World Championships 100m backstroke 2nd

2018 Pan Pacific Para swimming Championships 100m backstroke 1st