BUSSELTON, AUSTRALIA. If Damon Kendrick was a word, he would be all over the dictionary: courageous, positive, inspirational, unbelievable.

Damon lost his leg as a result of a shark encounter in South Africa at the age of 14, but his fast-paced life and exploits have not taken a hit. He became the first amputee to complete the 19.7K Rottnest Channel Swim in Western Australia.

But the multi-talented athlete from Perth really stepped it up at the 20K Geo Bay Swim from Quindalup to Busselton this month.

Especially since a large shark had been spotted in the area. “Right, I thought – game on,” in words that make sense in a pool or basketball courts, but are unbelievable from a man without his right foot. “All the way I imagined him 100 meters behind me and I had to stay ahead. I beat him by well over an hour and didn’t I enjoy rubbing his face in it.”

Damon won and set a new course record in 4 hours, 44 minutes and 54 seconds, ahead of second place Steve Wilson in 5:19:32.

Damon recalled when he lost his leg, thinking he was going to die. “I was in water, not even three foot deep when it grabbed me, shook me like mad, and then dragged me under. I remember drawing a breath and thinking it was the last breath I was going to take..” After his amputation, Damon thought, “I could cry, but what’s the point of that, it’s not going to bring my leg back. So I just thought I would do the best I can.”

And his best is the best there is to offer.

Copyright © 2011 by Open Water Source