Daniel Bendle of Swansea is a 24 year old swimmer who has been swimming for the past 20 years and a Special Olympics athlete since he was 11. After years of training 5 days a week, he has decided to hang up his goggles and be on the pool's rim instead of the swim as a coach.
Every day, Monday - Friday, you can find him working as a lifeguard and teacher for mainstream AND learning disabled swimmers with his Special Olympics swimming club, the Swansea Stingrays. Daniel participated at his first Special Olympics National Summer Games in Glasgow in 2005, winning a hat-trick of 1 Gold, 1 Silver and 1 Bronze medal.
His next National Summer Games was in Leicester 2009 where he won a Gold and 3 Bronze and qualified for Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens - 2011's largest sporting event with 180 countries and 7000 learning disabled athletes.
Daniel was thrilled to represent his country, bringing home 2 Gold (100m and breast stroke) a Silver (50m relay) and a Bronze (200m breast stroke). His Mum and Gran were there to cheer him on. The World Games was not his first international competition; Daniel also competed at the European Swimming Championships in Palma, Italy in 2009.
Daniel has regularly medalled each year at disability sport national swimming championships and was Swimmer of the Year at his local club in 2009.
When Daniel was 16, he was invited to a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace accompanied by his Granny, Ann, who is a volunteer with their local Special Olympics Swim Club.
When Daniel isn't dipping his toe in the water, he can be found at every home game for the Swansea Swans. His cousin was team member Leigh De-Vulgt and he knows EVERYTHING about the team! CR