Ben – My Story
My Name is Ben Rees and I am 19 years old. I compete at International level in the sport of Swimming.
Cerebral Palsy effects my left side and lower body causing my muscles to be in a constant state of tightness with occasional muscle spasms; because of this I require the use of a wheelchair.
I am a full time Sport and Exercise Science student at the University of Derby. As well as this I am on work experience one day a week with Cerebral Palsy Sport as a part of my university course.
Where it all began
Having Cerebral Palsy, I have always felt the need to test myself against other people and show them how competitive I can be, which I have done from an early age. I have tried many sports such as wheelchair basketball, tennis, rugby and racing; but my joy and love has always been swimming as I felt free in the water to go wherever I liked. I started learning to swim aged two and started competing in 2004 when I was seven.
A week after my first competition, I was invited to train with the Nottinghamshire disability elite squad, which is now a part of the acclaimed NOVA Centurion swimming squads. It gave me the chance at an early age to see what international swimming was like, training with the likes of Sam Hynd who went to the 2008 Paralympics and Callum Lawson who competed in the Athens games. This really inspired me to get to that level and earn a medal of my own, if they could do it, so could I! It also gave me the chance to meet new people and make new friends; most of whom had also had Cerebral Palsy and who I am still close friends with today. These were the friends who first introduced me to CP Sport.
Competing nationally and internationally
In 2008 I competed in my first national event and have wanted to continue competing ever since. So far I have had many highlights in my swimming career, but taking the top spot was being selected for my first international event; the Nottingham CPISRA World Games in 2015.
I swam six events, over all taking away four slivers, two golds and twelve personal bests beating all my times in the heats and finals. It was such a relief to see that all the effort I put into training paid off and I was able to keep doing personal bests up until June of this year.
My goals for the future are to compete in more major international events and the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic games.