1. Did you know that South African-born, vision impaired Paralympic bronze medallist Katja Dedekind is a poet and in 2015, she received a Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Award for her poem ‘The Open Door’. The 15-year-old has a phobia about the dark and her favourite swimmer is Cate Campbell.
2. VIS Young Achiever of the Year winner for 2016, Emily Beecroft from Gippsland is a triplet with two other sisters and she has almost 35,000 followers on Twitter. Emily was born with a right arm limb deficiency and is deaf in her left ear.
3. Australian lifesavers have to swim faster than eight minutes for 400m freestyle to make their annual qualifications – but Metropolitan Caloundra patrolman Paralympic golden boy Brenden Hall can almost break four minutes – and he is a leg amputee and the fastest in the world and a dual Paralympic champion from London and Rio.
4. Stephen Badger, coach of Para Swim Team leader and three-time Paralympian and two-time gold medallist Matt Levy, has the rare distinction of swimming for two counties – Australia at the 1974 Commonwealth Games and Canada at the 1976 Olympics.
5. Six-time Paralympic golden girl and triple Paralympian Ellie Cole’s twin sister Brittany Cole is herself an accomplished Australian representative. Brittany is a world class clay target shooter who finished third in the Ladies Teams event at this ear’s FITASC World Sporting Championships in Hungary.
6. When Blake Cochrane is not swimming up and down with the USC Spartans he is studying a Bachelor of Clinical Exercise Science at the University of the Sunshine Coast or building on his collection of Star Wars lego.
7. When Rio Paralympian Monique Murphy got her first pair of flippers she wore them around the house all day, thinking they were like new shoes and had to be worn in first and recalls: “I got the worst blisters.”
8. Rio Paralympian and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Rowan Crothers was awarded the first Griffith University and Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Sporting Excellence scholarship, studying a Bachelor of Public Relations.
9. Legally blind Rio Paralympian Braeden Jason has a background in surf lifesaving with both North Cronulla in Sydney where he was born and now Alexandra Headlands on the Sunshine Coast where his family are actively involved. Braeden has even contested Ironman races, paddling a board.
10. The newest member of the Australian Para Dolphins Swim Team is 12 –year-old Jasmine Greenwood from Sussex Inlet on the NSW South Coast, who is a Year 7 student at Shoalhaven High School. An S9 classified swimmer who qualified for the World Championships in the 100m breaststroke, Jasmine also enjoys dancing and cross country.