In celebration of National Career’s Week, which aims to recognise careers and personal development, Swimming Australia caught up with some of its Dolphins to learn more about their study, careers and ambitions outside of the pool.
Brenden Hall, #P246
Brenden Hall’s post-swimming game plan has been well cemented since he was a young teenager. Now the three-time Paralympic gold medallist is on his way to completing his second degree in preparation for a career in physiotherapy.
The 27-year-old is currently past the halfway mark of finishing his Bachelor of Physiotherapy at the Australian Catholic University. He already has an undergraduate degree under his belt after completing a Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science at the University of Queensland in 2017.
Hall found an early interest in sports science while admiring the work of his support staff on the national para swim team. The Queenslander has since narrowed down his post-swimming ambitions to become a physio support staff member.
“I just became really interested in how the body actually functions and works and what you have to do to be able to move properly,” Hall said.
“That physio role jumped out at me a lot more and I’ve been enjoying it ever since.
“I think that comes from my background, being an amputee and being in hospital when I was younger. I think the support staff play a very important role in getting us to the end and on to that podium.”
Hall credited the initiative of former para coach Brendan Keogh who pressed Hall and the rest of the junior team to keep their futures in mind.
“He sat us down and said, ‘right everyone, it's really important that you start to consider your life outside of swimming. Now, even though you are a Paralympic swimmer and you're swimming for Australia, what you have to realise is that this isn't going to last forever’. It's pretty much your part-time career. You do it because you love it,” Hall added.
“But I think it actually drilled it into my mind really early on that I actually have to be prepared for life after sport and start setting that career pathway.”
With competitive swimming placed on ice for the majority of 2020, Hall shifted his focus to gaining his second Bachelor’s degree and placing his head back into the books.
“I was almost doing full-time uni, which I hadn't done since the first year I'd pretty much been at university [back in 2011]. So, it was all of a sudden like being in foreign waters trying to keep myself afloat,” Hall said. “But it was enjoyable because I got to focus on my end goal and it was quite enjoyable.
“I'm just trying to make sure I don't spread myself too thin either way, whether that be studying or training. I just try to make sure I balance the load as evenly as I possibly can.
“It's not easy work, but at the same time I enjoy challenges if it is put in front of me.”
Hall has highlighted his desire to pay it forward in the future and use his career to help the next generation of athletes reach their peak.
“I'd love to be able to have the opportunity later in life, post swimming, post completion of my degree, to try and come back into a sporting team somewhere,” Hall revealed.
“Preferably swimming would be great, but I'll take any sporting team and jump on board as a member of the support staff and medical team as hopefully a qualified sports physiotherapist and help treat athletes to make sure that they can perform at their absolute best.”