Terrance Parkin

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Terence Parkin was born on April 12th, 1980 in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. It took his parents 18 months to realize he was unable to hear, and doctors would soon confirm their worst fears, Terence was Deaf. At the time there were very few educational opportunities or a support system for Deaf children in Zimbabwe so the Parkin’s, and then three-year old Terence, decided to move to Durban. There Terence found himself knee-deep in the stuff he liked best, water. Terence Parkin: “I just love swimming, I enjoy it so much. I actually enjoy the feeling of getting tired from swimming.” Terence was forced out into a world of complete silence, but because it was the only world he knew, Terence immersed himself in it and would soon turn his isolation into an advantage. Terence first began to notice his potential as a swimmer at his junior high school trials. He swam his first competitive heat and was disqualified in the 200-metre Individual Medley. He did a wrong turn, and Dennis White who was an established coach and happened to be timing Parkin’s lane approached him and his parents after the meet and told them he thought Terence had a bright future in swimming and that they shouldn’t overlook his talent. That turned out to be the best bit of advice the Parkin family ever received. A month after his first meet, Graham Hill – once a South African champion swimmer himself – took Terence under his wing. Graham Hill “I saw a kid who really wanted to get into swimming, but wasn’t quite up to the standard of the other kids his age. He had more enthusiasm than the other kids, but just wasn’t there physically. We used to laugh about it, we still do. Terence was really slow in the early stages of his career.” Six years later Terence was the fastest swimmer in the area. King’s Park Stadium in Durban is where he broke his first national record. It wasn’t much longer before Terence was being noticed internationally. Terence Parkin: “When I’m swimming in a competition and I...
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