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Family swim team leader off to Beijing

Family swim team leader off to Beijing

David, Willy, Paul,
Clair and Chris Benson
Click to enlarge

From left: David, Willy, Paul, Clair and Chris Benson. All five siblings in this family swimming powerhouse have won national titles.

Press Release

4 August 2008

Family swim team leader off to Beijing

Nearly 30 years after Pat Benson became the 11th person to conquer Cook Strait, he and wife Mary are proudly watching the next generation surge to national prominence. But their children’s strength is in the pool, not the chilly waters of the Strait.

All five Benson children – Willy (20), Paul (19), Chris (17) and twins Clair and David (16) – have national swimming titles to their names and all five are highly competitive in the sport. Leading the family charge is Willy Benson, recently selected to represent New Zealand at the 2008 Beijing Olympics as part of the 4 x 100 freestyle relay team.

Currently studying for a Bachelor of Business Studies at Massey’s Albany campus, Benson is anticipating a hectic few weeks ahead as he shuttles from the Olympics to exams.

Making the Olympic squad has been the first big step in a carefully thought out campaign for Benson. Joining the sport as an 11-year-old, he holds four age group titles in the 50 and 100-metre freestyle and butterfly, and the 15-year male age-group record for the 50-metre butterfly.

Looking ahead, he’s targeting medal contention at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games, and the 2012 Olympic Games in London. He also has his eye on the New Zealand 50 and 100-metre freestyle and 50-metre butterfly records.

Benson is part of an elite group of athletes across a range of sports using deer velvet as a sports supplement.

“The deer velvet definitely helps with faster recovery from training and racing,” Benson says. He first became interested in deer velvet through his uncle Warwick Kent, a prominent North Island deer farmer and velvet producer.

Benson is a member of Powered by, a group of top-performing athletes using deer velvet and sponsored by Deer Industry New Zealand. Sports represented in the group include triathlon and duathlon, adventure racing, surf sports and swimming – all of which put extreme demands on competitors.

They are following in big footsteps. Single sculler Rob Waddell and triathlete Hamish Carter have both used deer velvet on their pathway to Olympic glory.


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