Quick Facts

How acquired
Physical Impairment – Left hand limb deficiency
Date of Birth
January 12, 1985
Meridan Plains, QLD
Swimming coach
Started Competing
First Competed for Australia
Games Experience

Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012


Kieran Perkins

Career Highlights

Winning Gold and a World Record in the 2008 Beijing Paralympics S10 200 IM


Triple Paralympic gold medallist Rick Pendleton has made a career out of succeeding against the odds.

Launching his comeback to the pool after a hiatus following the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, Rick proved he had lost none of his class at the 2011 CanAm Championships in the USA, taking home two gold in a haul of four medals.

He won gold in the 200m butterfly and 100m breaststroke with the display again ensuring Rick would again play a prominent role in the Australian team at London 2012. Although he didn’t take home gold from London, he grabbed two bronze medals in the 200m individual medley and the 4x100m medley relay.

Rick loves the underdog tag, believing even coal under pressure becomes a diamond. It is this attitude that pushes him in training for swimming glory. At the Beijing 2008 Games, he won two gold medals and smashed the world record in the 200m individual medley. The campaign was his most successful and he was both happy and relieved he performed to his best after four years of hard work.

Born missing his left hand, Rick played rugby league before he tore ligaments in both knees, ending his career. Since taking to the pool, he hasn’t looked back.

He competed at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games where he finished fourth by 0.07 of a second in the 100m breaststroke, which he believes is his lowest sporting moment. Despite the setback, Rick did win his first Paralympic gold in the 4x100m relay.

Soon afterwards, he performed strongly at the 2006 IPC World Swimming Championships with silver in the 200m individual medley and bronze in the 100m breaststroke.

Originally from Sydney, Rick moved to train at state of the art facilities on the Sunshine Coast in preparation for London 2012. Training with a highly talented group of Paralympic swimmers under the tutelage of high performance coach Jon Shaw, Rick is the beneficiary of revolutionary new training technology. Known as the Orca Swim Tracker, a camera system that transmits above and below water images to a screen on pool deck, allowing for video analysis of Rick’s swimming technique.

Rick looks up to Kieran Perkins in the swimming world but, outside swimming, his mum is his greatest hero.

Rick’s ultimate goal is to finish his swimming knowing he couldn’t have been any better. He also values the importance of being a good father and husband and wants to teach his kids to love and chase swimming like he did.

Sports & Disciplines

  • Sport: Swimming Disciplines: 100m breastsroke Classification: SB9
  • Sport: Swimming Disciplines: 100m butterfly Classification: S10
  • Sport: Swimming Disciplines: 200m individual medley Classification: SM10
  • Sport: Swimming Disciplines: 4x100m medley relay Classification: S10