For champion swimmer and NDIS participant Brenden Hall, living the life he wants while dominating in the pool comes from a foundation built on the right supports.
Brenden, who is profoundly deaf and a right leg amputee due to complications from Chicken Pox over 2 decades ago, said the NDIS has helped him to maintain his success.
Now 29 and competing at his third Commonwealth Games this week in Birmingham in the S9 100m backstroke, Brenden said he would never shy away from a challenge.
He said says his love for being in the pool – and his support out of it – had allowed him to face the challenge of competing head on.
“I’m pretty excited to race. If I can head home with a medal, I’ll be pretty darn stoked,” Brenden said ahead of the Games.
“I’ve never been one to shy away from a challenge. I also just love being in the water.
“I love the training and the gruelling hell my body goes through to try and always stay fit and the challenge that comes with it.
“But the (NDIS) enables me to continue living life the way I want to. Without it, there’s no question on whether I’d be able to do what I currently do at the level I do without that sort of support.”
Brenden made his international swimming debut at the 2007 Arafura Games, and has also competed in 3 Paralympic Games, and 3 Pan Pacific Para Championships.
Heading into Birmingham, Brenden has amassed 17 gold, 8 silver and 7 bronze medals across his international career.
Maintaining his success in the pool while becoming a father and juggling a physiotherapy degree, Brenden said his supports had assisted him to stay on top.
“My assistive technology supports have probably been the biggest help for me with my prosthetic. It’s enabled me to do a lot of things that I used to struggle doing around my intense training program,” Brenden said.
“For example, gym workouts, cycling and all the other high impact activities that I do, it’s (AT) improved my quality of life so that walking isn’t that much of a burden as it used to be.
“It’s also useful for physiotherapy, massage and Pilates components that help my body cope with the tolls of everyday training.
“I also love the beach and do surf lifesaving so having a prosthesis that is waterproof is a huge advantage for me. It means I can help keep the public safe on the beach and enjoy the surf and sand with my new little family.”
With son Bodhi turning 8 months old and himself nearing 30, Brenden knows most of his international swimming career is behind him.
However, with a drive for more success and a desire to hold on for Bodhi to be old enough to see dad in the pool, Brenden said he’s not ready to draw the curtain on his career just yet.
“Post Birmingham I think I’ll stick around till Paris and like to give it one last crack and hopefully finish it all out with a medal, preferably gold,” Brenden said.
“My family would love to travel and watch me one last time as well, and I’d love to be able to introduce little Bodhi to the world I’ve been living in since 2008.
“My long-term goals in and out of the pool all still sort of revolve around sport still. I’d love to finish my physiotherapy degree and get a role as a physiotherapist hopefully on future sporting teams especially at the Brisbane 2032 Games.
“All the while growing my small family and hopefully living up on the Sunshine Coast once my swimming chapter has closed with my own little practice to run.”