Australian open national swimming record holder
I recently turned 50 and reflected on my life, including being a husband, father, grandfather, son, brother, and uncle. However, my life changed dramatically just before I turned 40 when I started experiencing symptoms of a neurological condition, including facial palsy and loss of function in my left and right sides. Despite challenges like fatigue, pain, and memory loss, I found solace in swimming, a lifelong passion of mine. I went through the Swimming Australia classification process and received an S9, SB9, and SM9 classification, paving the way for me to compete in various championships. Along the way, I had the opportunity to meet and befriend Olympians and Paralympians who supported and encouraged me, including Tim Hodge, Jesse Singles, Josh Alford, Ashley van Rijswijk, Ella Jones, Liam Schulter, and Taylor Cory. With the guidance of my coach Yuriy, and the support of my team at momentum sports and rehabilitation, as well as sponsors like TYR Australia, Audio-technica, Barney Cools, and Swim Skin Body, I've been able to achieve remarkable feats in the pool. At 48 years old, I even broke the S9 open 1500m short course freestyle Australian national record. My disability has opened doors to opportunities I never would have imagined, and I am proud of what I have achieved. Through perseverance and a "never give up" attitude, I've learned that nothing is impossible. My message to others is to not stop when you are done, but rather, stop when you are finished, and keep pushing forward no matter the challenges you face. Nothing is impossible.