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Our Para-Athlete Swim Stars

6 March 2015

Recently we caught up with the Funky Trunks and Funkita sponsored Australian para-athletes training together on the Sunshine Coast and learnt a thing or two about persistence and determination from this amazing bunch of athletes.

Braedan Jason

Braedan has been swimming since he was 8 years old and refuses to let his disability influence him in the pool. He enjoys competing in able-bodied races and believes swimming has given him the chance to compete in places that he may never have gone before. His silver medal at the 2012 Age National Championships was a highlight for Braedan and he recommends to anyone looking at joining a disability sports group to go into it with an open and accepting mind.

Lakeisha Patterson

Lakeisha's disability empowers her to show the world that anything is possible. Initially motivated to swim as an opportunity to stretch every muscle in her body and experience a pain-free day without pain killers, Lakeisha now trains in the pool nine times per week, does two gym sessions, one yoga session and two stretching sessions. Lakeisha has overcome the challenge of getting speed out of her body. "It is really hard when half of it doesn't work," she says. "Fortunately we have a great science team to assist with that process and an exceptional coach." Lucky continues to improve rapidly, she is currently ranked number 3 in Para world rankings and is working towards a number 1 ranking by dropping her times in every competition.

Jacob Templeton

For Jacob, swimming has taught him a valuable life lesson. "Get up when you've been knocked down" he says. His vision inhibits him in many ways, however if he swims in the middle of the lane on his front and right next to the lane rope on his back, he will keep swimming until he cannot physically get anymore out of himself. Jacob is training to go to the Rio Paralympic Games and believes that if he can master all the things he strives for in the training pool, he will make it!

Blake Cochrane

After initially missing out on the Beijing Paralympic Team, Blake Cochrane's greatest moment was receiving a selection call after the team was already named. The late notice did not deter him as he went on to win the silver medal for the 100m breaststroke. Blake went one better to win the gold at London 2012 and plans to keep swimming until at least the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Paralympic Games. 

Michael Anderson OAM

Michael Anderson has not let nerve damage to his leg caused by meningitis and a hearing impairment stand in the way of Paralympic glory. Michael won a silver medal in the 100m backstroke at the 2008 Beijing Games, while battling a shoulder injury. At the 2012 London Paralympics, he won gold in the 4x100m freestyle relay and bronze in the 4x100m medley relay. He was recognised at the 2014 Australia Day Honours with an Order of Australia for his service to sport.

Logan Powell

Swimmer Logan Powell has his sights firmly set on the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. He is currently training hard to gain a position on the Australian team next year. He is on the right track after returning from the National Open Short Course Championships achieving some personal best times in the 100m backstroke and 400m freestyle.

Rick Pendleton

For Rick, swimming has given him life direction, balance and has shaped his demeanour, values and work ethic. The husband, father and full time coach is currently training for his fourth Paralympics and would love to achieve another podium finish. Rick's gold medal and world record in the 200 individual medley at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics remains his most valuable career highlight. "After all the hard times and failures, it made everything worthwhile" says Rick.

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