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Felix Bennett – Thriving on the world stage

21-year-old Felix is currently in the UK to compete at the World Cerebral Palsy Games in swimming. For Felix, his sport is not only improving his well-being but has also become his passion.

“The water helps to support my body to do exercise and I am free to move my arms and legs, which is [normally] difficult when I am in a walking frame for most activities,” Felix said.

Felix began competing at the age of ten. He swam as an S5 swimmer for eight years but was recently reclassified as an S4 swimmer. He swims Freestyle and Backstroke, and holds State and Australian short and long course records for several age groups, including Open.

Felix’s mother Dimity said that Felix loves sport but is not an independent wheelchair user.

“So we had to find a sport where he could compete at his level of ability while at the same time exercising and keeping his muscles working. Swimming was perfect – a “therapeutic competitive sport”,” Dimity said.

“It is not just about getting in the pool for Felix – he is on a mission. He always wants to know his current PB [personal best] before a race and then what time he swam. It is great to see Felix have that understanding and will to improve. He has [also] made many friends talking to people on the side of the pool,” she said.

Felix’s journey from first getting in the water as a six-month-old baby to holder of several Australian records has been full of hard work and plenty of support. And Cerebral Palsy Alliance has been there every step of the way.

Each week Felix participates in youth Aquafitness classes, the Allambie Seals Swim Squad and a regular maintenance gym program created by the Cerebral Palsy Alliance’s exercise physiologists.

“I believe Felix and his family acknowledge his development has been positively affected by all his sports. Swimming has been a key part of his life since he was a small child and it’s nice to see Felix getting such an international opportunity after all the meetings, trainings and swim meets the Bennett Family have been to,” Cerebral Palsy Alliance exercise physiologist Lauren Hansen said.

"Recently Felix broke his long-standing Freestyle PB. This was a huge achievement for him and for weeks afterwards he continued to remind us of it. It’s great to see his pride in these situations,”

Now a role model for younger swimmers, in the lead up to the Games Felix is putting in the hard yards to be the best he can be.

“In the last couple of weeks we have seen the added drive he is putting into his swimming,“ Lauren said.

“Felix knows that swimming with a disability is about swimming a PB, so he goes for it every swim. With the excitement of a big meet a PB in the UK is on the cards!” Felix’s mother Dimity said.

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