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Athletes

Benjamin
Proud
Great BritainGreat Britain, GBR
Swimming

Biography

Further Personal Information

Date of birth
21 September 1994
Height
189 cm
Residence
Turkey
Occupation
Athlete
Languages
English
Higher education
Sport Studies - University of St. Mark and St. John: Plymouth, ENG

Sport Specific Information

When and where did you begin this sport?
He began learning swim at age one and began training seriously at age 17.
Why this sport?
"Being born and raised in Malaysia, living there the first 16-17 years of my life, it's a tropical country so we spent a lot of time in the water. I was on a school team but never took it seriously. Another friend and I joined a team - it was just us two and our coach - but after one of the first practices the coach turned to my mother and said he could make me Malaysian national champion within a year. In 10 months, my 50m freestyle time went from 25.0 to 23.4 and that was the turning point. I knew I had to go all in or nothing with swimming. I told my mother this is the career path I wanted to follow."
Club / Team
Energy Standard Swim Club [TUR] / Plymouth Leander [ENG]:
Name of coach
James Gibson [Energy]; Bill Furniss [national]
Training Regime
He trains in Turkey with coach James Gibson at Energy Standard Swim Club.

International Debut

Year
2013
Competing for
Great Britain

General Interest

Nicknames
Ben (Facebook profile, 11 Apr 2018)
Hobbies
Playing the guitar. (dantemag.com, 01 Aug 2016)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning gold in the 50m butterfly at the 2017 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary. (plymouthherald.co.uk, 24 Jul 2017)
Most influential person in career
Coach Jon Rudd, and his first coach Francis Kiu. (swimswam.com, 01 Sep 2018; plymouthherald.co.uk, 29 Nov 2016)
Injuries
He was troubled by several injuries in 2015. (swimswam.com, 22 Mar 2016)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Work hard in silence, let success be your noise." (Instagram profile, 10 Aug 2018)
Ambitions
To compete at the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju, Republic of Korea, the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo and the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England. (sportsmole.co.uk, 01 Mar 2018; standard.co.uk, 01 Aug 2018; airasia.com, 25 Feb 2017)
Other information
ATTITUDE SHIFT
He said his attitude to swimming changed after winning a world title in the 50m butterfly in 2017, and that he felt better prepared to add an Olympic medal to his collection in 2020 than he did in 2016. He finished fourth in the 50m freestyle at the 2016 Games Rio de Janeiro. "I still feel I'm in my infancy. My initial drive was to win that [world] title and the whole reason I swum. So, my drive has changed and it's not about fast times or winning medals but being the best I can be. I don't think I was ready for a medal in Rio [in 2016], but the result spurred me on to improve." (standard.co.uk, 01 Aug 2018)

COMMONWEALTH DISQUALIFICATION
At the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, QLD, Australia he was disqualified following his 50m butterfly heat for movement on the starting blocks. He appealed the decision but the disqualification was upheld. "Unfortunately before the start signal I was judged to have moved my leg and the referee deemed this enough for a disqualification. I really wanted to come into the competition to retain both my titles [50m butterfly, 50m freestyle] and to have that opportunity taken away in the first heat is heart-breaking. There was so much invested in that and my world just shattered. It's the first time I have been disqualified at that level but better there than at the Olympics." (smh.com.au, 05 Apr 2018; standard.co.uk, 01 Aug 2018; bbc.co.uk, 05 Apr 2018)

TRAINING IN TURKEY
He moved to Turkey in February 2017 to train under coach James Gibson at the Energy Standard club, and spends most of the year there. "At the elite end of sport we're entering quite dangerous territory. To be number one or two in the world, you really have to be committed. It's the way sports are going now, it has to be 11-and-a-half months a year. The life of a swimmer can be draining but I'm driven to be the best swimmer I can be." (standard.co.uk, 01 Aug 2018)

SWITCHING FOCUS
He began his swimming career as a butterfly specialist. After finishing school and joining Plymouth Leander swimming club, he began to focus more on freestyle because the 50m butterfly is not an Olympic event. "Originally when I started swimming I was a 50m butterflyer - that was my event. That was the event I enjoyed the most and it was really the reason I got into swimming. But, since it's not an Olympic event, my focus switched to freestyle when I joined Plymouth [Leander]." (swimswam.com, 22 Mar 2016)

RAISED IN MALAYSIA
His family moved to Malaysia when he was five months old and he lived there until age 16. He competed for Alice Smith School, a British international school in Malaysia, under coach Francis Kiu. He hopes to return to Malaysia after his swimming career is over to train and work with local children. "Malaysia is my home, and forever will be." (swimswam.com, 01 Sep 2018; thesundaily.my, 10 Sep 2017; straitstimes.com, 26 Jul 2017)

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