Cameron Leslie is a Paralympic swimmer and a Wheel Black. He is the world record holder and three-time Paralympic gold medalist in the Men's Individual Medley 150m SM4.
Born and raised in Whangarei, Leslie took up swimming aged 11 but after he was soundly beaten on his debut appearance at the 2006 IPC Swimming World Championships he admits he “nearly gave the sport away” only to be persuaded to carry on by his Mum. It proved an inspired decision as Cameron relocated to Auckland to hook up with a new coach, Simon Mayne, and the pair opted to try an new event – the Men's 150m Individual Medley SM4.
In their first full year together, Cameron blitzed to “a shock” gold medal in a world rcord time in their new event at the Beijing 2008 Paralympics - a feat he was to repeat at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
With a gold medal and world record at the Rio 2016 Paralympics, Cameron 's exceptional performance shone among a stand-out team of 31 Paralympians. The New Zealand Paralympic Team secured a stunning 21 medals across 12 individual medallists (nine gold, five silver and seven bronze). The Team ranked first in the world per capita and 13th in the world overall (previous best: 16th).
Cameron’s first got involved in wheelchair rugby following a Have a Go Day in 2007 and so loved “the energy” of the sport he started training twice a week with the Auckland team before later graduating to the Wheel Blacks.
He insists the pros outweigh the cons of training across in two sports and believes wheelchair rugby can complement his swimming training.
Cameron works with up-and-coming swimmers, like Ian Winson, to help them with their transition onto higher honours. Cameron is also a co-founding member of the Wheel Blacks' unofficial 'Tea Club' - a light-hearted club for team members who appreciate a good cup of tea.
Key international events include:
Pan Pacific Para Swimming Championships - 9 to 13 August 2018
Ina te mahi, he rangātira = What you put in is what you get out.