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Army March 17, 2011
By Graham McBean
SGT Michael Lyddiard swam just
under 21km and spent 8hrs 23min in
the water off Perth to check off his lat-
The wounded engineer said he
achieved his two goals for the Rottnest
Channel Swim -- completing and not fin-
ishing last in the solo event.
He came in 115th from 148 contest-
ants in the solo category and raised more
than $43,000 for Legacy in the process.
Sgt Lyddiard said the first and last
5km were the hardest as he established
a rhythm and then battled muscle fatigue
4km out from the finish.
"I just had to focus on the mental
preparation and wait for it to kick in and
rely on the support I had," Sgt Lyddiard
said.He maintained his race plan and
paused every 40 minutes for about 15-20
seconds to take on water and protein.
As temperatures soared to about 38
degrees midway through the event, he
swam for cold currents, which added to
the distance but provided respite from the
His next challenge is a 16km double
crossing from Townsville to Magnetic
Island. He said his ultimate ambition
was to get to a point where the English
Channel might be a possibility.
Donations to Sgt Lyddiard's Legacy fundraising
can be made at www.everydayhero.com.au/
michael_lyddiard until March 30.
on day for
Determination: Sgt Michael Lyddiard
pushes against fatigue in his bid to
swim the Rottnest Channel.
By Michael Brooke
FIVE ADF members, including
three proud soldiers, demonstrated
their courage and determination to
overcome adversity at the recent
US Marine Corps Paralympic
The personnel, part of Joint
Health Command's ADF Paralympic
Sports Program, shocked Coalition
partners by winning 12 gold medals,
11 silver and one bronze.
Their participation in the US
Marine Corps Paralympic Trials was
part of Exercise Wounded Warrior,
conducted in the US and Canada
from February 6-28.
WO2 Dennis Ramsey, Pte
Damien Thomlinson and Pte Clint
Vardy all had a hand in the ADF's
The ADF team claimed 10 gold
medals in swimming and such was
its domination, the US Marines
feared the Australians would win all
the gold medals at stake.
Pte Vardy, APA-Brisbane, won
medals in three different sports.
In swimming he won four gold
medals in the 50m and 100m free-
style events, the 50m backstroke and
the Allied 200m relay.
In track and field Pte Vardy won
gold in the 800m and silver in the
100m and 200m events, and silver
as a member of the Allied 4x100m
Pte Vardy, who lost his arm in
a motor bike accident, said he was
particularly pleased with his gold
medal in the 30m air rifle event
because, with a final score of 98.8 he
pipped former soldier turned clear-
ance diver Paul De Gelder.
"I was pretty pleased to beat
someone ex-infantry in a shooting
contest," he said.
Pte Thomlinson, 2 Cdo Regt,
won gold in the 200m relay and sil-
ver in the 50m freestyle, but gained
much more in appreciation and
respect for soldiers with significant
injuries and wounds.
Pte Thomlinson, who lost both
legs as a result of an IED attack in
Afghanistan, said he marvelled at
how Coalition soldiers with such
wounds and injuries had the cour-
age and determination to succeed at
whatever they put their minds to.
"I was pretty inspired by a cou-
ple of different veterans -- Ray and
Chuck -- who were absolutely deter-
mined to keep going in life and to
not take a backward step," he said.
WO2 Ramsey, ALTC, collected
silver medals in the 100m, 200m,
800m wheelchair track and discus
events, and a bronze in the wheel-
WO2 Ramsey, who lost both
legs to illness after returning from
deployment, said he would start
training for his next challenge -- the
Arafura Games in Darwin in May.
During Ex Wounded Warrior, the
ADF members also learnt adaptive
snow sports at the Canadian veter-
ans' learn-to-ski week, followed by
the US Marine Corps paralympic
Acting Joint Health Commander
Cdre Robyn Walker said the
Paralympic Sports Program and
Ex Wounded Warrior, highlighted
Defence's seriousness in rehabilitat-
ing its members.
"Their rehabilitation and activi-
ties such as Ex Wounded Warrior
aids in bringing them back to the
enjoyable and quality lives that we
all expect to live," she said.
Ex Wounded Warrior was the
result of the Canadian Soldier-On
program and the US Marine Corps'
Wounded Warrior Regiment inviting
the ADF Paralympic Sports Program
to send a team of members with
acquired disabilities to their interna-
tional exchange events.
The ADF Paralympic Sports
Program and Directorate of Army
Health support staff have conducted
information exchanges with partici-
pating nations on the rehabilitation
of severely injured members to fur-
ther inform the development of the
ADF Paralympic Sports Program
and other rehabilitation services.
Ill, wounded and injured ADF personnel can
access more information and a wider sup-
port network through the ADF Paralympic
Sports Program website at http://intranet.
defence.gov.au/vcdf/sites/DRS and the
Wounded Digger website at www.army.gov.
Going for gold
Taking on the world: Pte Damien
Thomlinson, wounded in an IED attack
in Afghanistan, learns to snow board
at the Canadian veterans' learn-to-ski
week as part of Ex Wounded Warrior
in the US and Canada.
Pte Clint Vardy
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