For the 6th-consecutive year, Brenden Hall won the men’s Multi Class 5k open water title at the 2017 Australian Open Water Swimming Championships held at Brighton Beach in South Australia. Also a 2-time Paralympic gold medalist, we might expect Hall to be gearing up for the World Para Swimming Championships in Mexico City this fall, and perhaps he is; Hall is an accomplished Multi Class swimmer in the pool and open water. However, if Hall does make the trip to Mexico, he will have to content himself to the competition in the pool alone.
Open water swimming has not been offered at the World Para Games (formerly the IPC Swimming World Championships) since the 2010 Eindhoven (NED) Games. At that iteration of the Games, Hall was world champion in the 5k open water distance. Now, unfortunately, the highest level of Multi Class competition Hall can compete in is at the national level in his home, Australia.
“I always enjoyed it when they had it at worlds and I was a bit disappointed when the IPC took it off the program,” Hall said.
In addition to his incredible record of competition in Australia and at the World Para Swimming Championships (when open water was still offered), Hall was the S9 Paralympic gold medalist in the 400 meter freestyle in both London 2012 and Rio 2016. Yet despite his accomplishments and talent in the pool, Hall still wishes he could compete against the best Multi Class athletes in the world in open water. More than anything, Hall would like to see more Multi Class athletes try out open water swimming.
“I’d definitely love to have more Multi swimmers involved…just get in and have a go, it’s seems long but it’s so much fun, it pushes you out of your comfort zone and helps with improving general swimming ability.”
Even though Hall cannot race open water at the World Para Sports Festival this fall in Mexico City, he has said that he will continue competing open water in Australia for the fun of it, and because it helps improve his swimming ability overall. Hall’s winning time from this year’s Australian competition was 1:03:49.30.