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Belgravia Swim Team athletes set to compete at Tokyo Paralympics

Belgravia Swim Team athletes set to compete at Tokyo Paralympics
July 26, 2021

Belgravia Leisure has announced that Belgravia Swim Squad Head Coach Harley Connolly and swim team athletes Brenden Hall and Lakiesha ‘Lucky’ Patterson have been selected to compete at the Toyko Paralympics in August.

Each of the athletes has a remarkable story.

Patterson was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy left-sided Hemiplegia soon after birth and epilepsy at the age of five. She began her swimming journey 17 years ago to manage muscle stiffness and has not looked back since.

She has won gold at four major Games including the Commonwealth Games in 2018 and is tipped as one of the favourites to win this year’s Games, which will be her second.

Excited to have secured her ticket to Tokyo and is looking forward to reaching her goal of bringing home a gold medal, she explains “to finally have that security of ‘yes you are going’ was a sense of pride and accomplishment.

“But the job is not over yet. It’s still head down and put in the hard work and progress towards those goals of winning gold.”

Head Coach Connolly is extremely proud of the pair’s performances in the pool, describing them both as exceptional swimmers, commenting “Lucky is incredibly hardworking – one of the hardest workers on the team. She is resilient, willing to learn and willing to train with the boys and their volume of kilometres. She has the winning desire instilled in her.”

Born in 1993, Brenden Hall had his right leg amputated after complications from chicken pox at the age of six.

As a Paralympic amputee swimmer who won two gold medals at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London and, representing Australia at the 2016 Rio Paralympics, he won one gold, one silver and one bronze medal.

The Tokyo Paralympics in August will be Hall’s fourth, having trained under Coach Connolly for the past nine years.

Connolly adds “Brenden is a widely experienced athlete. He is committed to success, resilient, disciplined and always willing to go one further in training.”

Connolly’s advice for anyone who has dreams of participating in the Olympics or Paralympics is to find a coach and program that aligns with your own goals, noting “be willing to sacrifice many things including parties and late nights.

“Remember that training for an Olympic or Paralympic Games is a small part of your life. Commonly, we retire from professional competitive swimming before we hit 30. Some athletes are lucky enough to be good enough to keep going past this age and still be competitive.”

Click here find out more about Belgravia Leisure’s aquatics programs.

Images: Belgravia Swim Squad Head Coach Harley Connolly (middle) and swim team athletes Lakiesha ‘Lucky’ Patterson and Brenden Hall (top) and Connolly on the pool deck (below).

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