Ashley Owens began swimming in middle school and credits her athletic accomplishments to her first swim coach, Judy Burdette. Owens says Burdette pushed her to excel in the sport and, consequently, she qualified for and competed in the 2004 Paralympic Games at the age of 14. After winning one gold and one bronze medal in Athens, Owens improved in Beijing, claiming one gold and one silver.

At the 2006 U.S. Paralympics Swimming National Championships, Owens set a new Pan American record in the 1500m free, crushing the old mark by more than 90 seconds. With her performance, Owens earned the opportunity to compete for the U.S. at the IPC Swimming World Championships in Durban, South Africa.  At the 2010 IPC Swimming World Championships in Eindhoven, Netherlands, Owens earned a gold medal (400m freestyle) as well as a silver medal (100m freestyle).

Owens trains regularly with Swim Atlanta at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center in Atlanta, Ga., under the tutelage of her coach Doug Gjertsen.  She competes in several local competitions in her home state of Georgia in an effort to become a stronger all-around swimmer.

Owens graduated from Stockbridge High School in 2008. Her sister, Jennifer, also swims. However, Owens points out that she can beat her able-bodied sister in the freestyle events (nothing like sibling rivalry). Owens also enjoys spending time with her two pets, Splash, a black-and-white cat, and Little Debbie, a Jack Russell Terrier.

Major Achievements:

  • 2010: Gold medal, 400m Freestyle; silver medal, 100m Freestyle – IPC Swimming World Championships, Eindhoven, Netherlands
  • 2008: Gold medal, 100m Freestyle S10; silver medal, 400m Freestyle S10 – Paralympic Games, Beijing, China
  • 2008: World record, S10 400m freestyle - Can-Am Championships, Victoria, British Columbia 
  • 2008: World record, S10 200m freestyle - Can-Am Championships, Victoria, British Columbia 
  • 2008: First place, American record, 100m free – U.S. Paralympic Swimming Trials, Minneapolis, Minn.
  • 2006: Four gold medals (100m free, 400m free, 34-pt. 4x100m free relay, 34-pt. 4x100m medley relay), silver medal (50m free) - IPC Swimming World Championships, Durban, South Africa
  • 2006: Pan American record, 1500m free - U.S. Paralympics Swimming National Championships, San Antonio, Texas
  • 2004: Gold medal (34-pt. 4x100m free relay), bronze medal (S10 400m free) - Paralympic Games, Athens, Greece
  • 2003: Member of U.S. Paralympics Swimming Elite Team at age 13