I, Amanda Drennan was born on Phillip Island on the 22nd of May 1988 at the former Worley Hospital. I was born missing my right leg for reasons that remain unknown. My mother, Anne Drennan was also a nurse their at the time of my birth.
Growing up on Phillip Island my mother and father thought it was very important for me to involved in a sport. They decided that I should start swimming, as living on an island being able to swim was a big part of every child’s upbringing.
I first started swimming lessons at the age of 3 at a local swimming pool. At first I struggled as I was told by instructors that I wasn’t using my legs enough! My mother thought that I should concentrate on mainly using my arms which saw immediate improvement. As I got a bit older I used to go and watch my older sister swim at squad training. I became quite bored sitting by the side of the pool and one day decided that I would give it a go myself. At first I was unable to complete a full lap but with the help of a bribe in the form of Freddo Frogs I could soon swim many.
At the age of ten I competed in my first state championships and a year later I represented Australia at the school pacific games. In 2000 I tried out for the Paralympic Games which were held in Sydney. I made it into a backstroke final and was offered a wildcard entry into the games. After discussion with my parents and head coach it was decided that it would be in my best career interests not to except the this offer. Since then I have represented Australia in Paralympic Games, World Championships and World Cups. Below is a brief list of my major achievements.
· 2002 World Championships in Argentina – Gold medal in medley relay, Silver in Freestyle relay and 4th in the 100m relay
· 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece. Bronze medal in freestyle relay, 5th in 100m freestyle and 7th in 100m backstroke
· 2005 World Cup in England/ British Nationals – 1st in 100m butterfly
· 2007 – lived in Germany for 7 months to pursue my swimming career, staying at a sports school in Berlin.
· 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, China. Finalist in the 400m freestyle
After missing selection for the 2010 Commonwealth Games I am now focussed on a totally new challenge. In 2008, the Worley hospital was closed after a change in government due to a lack of funding. Currently the closest hospital to Phillip Island is in Wonthaggi which is half an hour a way. At the moment if there is a major accident or emergency this will often lead to a road closure on the Island meaning that the only way for the injured to get to hospital is by helicopter. There is also a lack of ambulances in area. These issues are especially worrying in the summer time and during special events such as the Grand Prix and Pyramid Rock. During these times the population on the Island can increase threefold, leading to heavy congestion on the roads. In peak season the risk that someone will die due to poor ambulance response time and/ or the time it would take to get them to a hospital (could be greater than an hour) is greatly increased.
I feel that it is my time to give back to the Phillip Island community as they have always supported me both financially and emotionally throughout my career. In March 2011 I will be attempting to swim the full 66kms around Phillip Island to raise awareness and funds towards a hospital or a stabilisation centre for Phillip Island. In order to achieve my goal I will need support in the way of sponsorship or just to help raise awareness from as many people as possible. If you would like to help out or be a sponsor this would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.