At 10am Tuesday morning, Yass swimmer Aaron Rhind received some life-changing news.
It was news that he had been waiting on for 11 years. News that would make everything he has gone through - the rehab, the long hours in the pool, the 4.30am starts - all worth it.
On Tuesday, Rhind was officially selected to swim at the Paralympic Games in London.
“I was absolutely over the moon,” Rhind said of his selection.
“It has been something that I have been looking at since I got sick in 2001.”
Rhind experienced a stroke at the age of 10 and, as a result, suffers from cerebral artery aneurysm. His left side is weaker than the rest of his body. He does not use his left arm in the water but has worked hard in the gym to increase the strength in his left leg.
Rhind said he was an avid rugby union player before his stroke but the doctor’s bad news changed that.
“Straight after the accident I was told no contact sport. So when I couldn’t play rugby any more, swimming was the sport I chose.”
Rhind has a brutal schedule, training every morning and every afternoon with the Ginninderra Marlins, but he told the Tribune that all that hard work has been worth it.
“I think all the work has definitely paid off. It’s a dream come true really.”
He is part of a squad of 35 swimmers that will head over to London on August 10. The Opening Ceremony for the Paralympic Games takes place on August 29 and Rhind will be competing in the pool the very next day.
He has been selected to participate in two events: the 200 metre individual medley and, his pet event, the 50 metre butterfly. It’s also possible he could swim in a medley relay team but that is not yet confirmed.
The former Mt Carmel student will not change his usual race routine before racing in England. He will continue to train as per usual before tapering off a little just before the meet.
He has a play list that he listens to the day before a race, starting at breakfast and finishing with Kanye West’s ‘Stronger’ right before he springs off the blocks.
Rhind went out of his way to thank his parents for their support over the last 11 years with his swimming, as well as his coaches, ACTAS and all his friends that have voiced their support on Facebook.
Those wishing to catch Aaron Rhind racing will need to tune into ABC TV once the Paralympics begin. And, of course, the Tribune will be reporting all the action.
The Tribune wishes Aaron the best of luck in his pursuit of a medal in London.