For Brenden Hall, the noise generated by the crowd inside the London Aquatics Centre at the 2012 Paralympic Games was unlike anything he'd ever experienced.
“The atmosphere was unbelievable,” Brenden says. “To experience that level of noise and cheering, it really got the adrenalin and the heart pumping.”
When Brenden was just six years old, he lost his lower right leg and most of his hearing as result of complications associated with chickenpox.
But the resilient Queenslander had a strong connection with the water—and a gift for swimming—and his top priority was to get back into the pool as soon as possible.
It was a quicker turnaround for me to get back in the pool than it was for me to get walking again, he says.
Getting the solution
During this period, Brenden was introduced to Hearing Australia and fitted with a hearing aid when he was seven. When first gettting his hearing aid, the change was pretty amazing. Brenden said he started hearing sounds he hadn’t heard before.
In the lead up to the 2012 Paralympic Games, he was fitted with a new hearing aid that he could wear in the water—something that helped him get the most out of his training.
It allows me to pick up those quick conversations I have with my coach before I push back off [the wall] and get on with the next lap, he says.
When the London Games arrived, Brenden marked a major milestone in his journey by winning gold in the 400 metres freestyle S9 class. He won by more than seven seconds and smashed his previous world record by almost four seconds.
My goal in London was to win gold and come away with the world record … and I managed to do that,” he says. “To complete my dream and my goal was the best feeling ever.
The journey continues
Brenden’s remarkable achievements continue; in addition to his full-time studies at university, in August 2013 he won gold and broke his own world record time for the 400m freestyle event at the IPC Swimming World Championships. At the 2016 Rio Games, Brenden won the gold medal in the men's 400m freestyle S9, a silver medal in the men's 100m freestyle S9 and bronze medal in the men's 100m backstroke S9.