Invictus fighting spirit rises

Published on LEUT Will Singer (author), LSIS Brad Darvill (photographer)

Location(s): Toronto

Topic(s): HMAS Arunta (F151), Invictus Games

ADF Invictus team support staff member, Warrant Officer Andrew Bertoncin, Swimming Coach, Lieutenant Amy Beal, and competitor Petty Officer Maritime Logistics - Supply Chain Ian McCracken, at the HMAS Stirling Pool before they head off to the 2018 Invictus Games held in Toronto, Canada.  (photo: LSIS Bradley Darvill)
ADF Invictus team support staff member, Warrant Officer Andrew Bertoncin, Swimming Coach, Lieutenant Amy Beal, and competitor Petty Officer Maritime Logistics - Supply Chain Ian McCracken, at the HMAS Stirling Pool before they head off to the 2018 Invictus Games held in Toronto, Canada.
Australia’s Invictus Games swimming coach is Navy’s own Lieutenant Amy Beal, who is in Toronto, Canada with the Australian team putting the ‘unconquered’ into the adaptive sports competition concept.
 
HMAS Arunta’s Deputy Maritime Logistics Officer said that it was inspiring to witness how the athletes found ways to push themselves that little bit further.
 
“I was working with Petty Officer Maritime Logistics Supply Chain Ian McCracken and he kept raving about how good the 2016 Orlando games were and how much he got out of it as a support staff member,” Lieutenant Beal said.
 
“He found out I had a swimming background and encouraged me to put my application in.
 
“I'm so glad I did as the experience has given me more than I ever could have imagined.
 
“I've been injured through my own service and I know how much sport has had a part to play in my recovery and regaining my confidence.
 
“To be able to help someone else achieve that, I wanted to grab the opportunity to help,” she said.
 
The seasoned swimming coach keeps her instructional knowledge up to date through constant personal self-development.
 
“I study videos, read new studies by coaches, talk to my athletes and also swim myself - so I'm constantly trying new things out,” Lieutenant Beal said.
 
“Because of Invictus, I've done a lot of research of various impairments so I can gain a better understanding of what the athletes are faced with on a daily basis,” she said.
 
Lieutenant Beal’s coaching philosophy involves regular contact with her athletes to gauge progress both in and out of the pool.
 
“It’s important to have a holistic view with Invictus as so many of the athletes are competing in more than one sport, have work outside of training and have other pressures,” Lieutenant Beal said.
 
“I have found I get the best out of my swimmers when they know they can put down the phone, take a load off, and then they can focus on what they need to do in the pool.
 
“It’s essential that the athletes feel well supported so they can achieve their goals,” she said.
 
Lieutenant Beal said she was excited to see how the swim team would perform in Toronto as all had worked incredibly hard and Invictus wasn’t about winning medals.
 
“It’s about showing how far athletes have come after being wounded, ill or injured - the Australian team inspires me every day,” Lieutenant Beal said.
 
“I firmly believe in having fun whilst training I have music cranking on the pool deck during sessions which everyone enjoys and we have a bit of a laugh whilst training.
 
“Invictus is about getting back up when you've been knocked down and showing what you can achieve,” she said.
 
The Games are on home soil in 2018 and Australia needs a larger contingent to both compete and support the October competition in Sydney.
 
Nominations are open for both athletes and coaches for the 2018 Invictus Games team – and can be made by current and ex-serving wounded, injured and ill personnel.
 
Info and application forms can be found at http://www.defence.gov.au/Events/InvictusGames/
 
Follow the 2017 team at www.facebook.com/team.invictus.australia or www.twitter.com/aussieinvictus