Right from the day he entered the world 15 weeks premature, Paralympic swimming sensation Matt Levy has been a fighter.
"I was pretty much black and blue when I was born and it was game on from day one basically," Levy says with a steely look piercing through his vision-impaired eyes.
It's a bleak image of Levy's first few hours. He wasn't supposed to survive, but there was a determination inside this newborn that in later life would manifest into two Paralympic gold medals and a stack more at World Championship level.
"I went downhill for a bit from the beginning and it was always touch and go for the first five or six years, I was in and out of hospital," Levy recalls.
"I had around 50-odd operations ranging from my heart, lungs, ears, most of my body."
Levy was born with cerebral palsy, and suffered a bleed on his brain just days later which rendered him legally blind. He has no peripheral vision and cannot see beyond three metres in front of him - much like forever looking into a dark tunnel.
Now 33 years of age, Levy has carved his place in history as one of Australia's greatest Paralympic swimmers.
And now he's one of our own.
Levy has made the decision to move to the Australian Institute of Sport full time to best prepare himself for next year's postponed Tokyo Paralympics.
He has trained here on a semi-regular basis since the 2016 Rio Games, but was always based in Sydney. Now he's taken up residence at the AIS and is working with veteran swim coach Yuriy Vdovychenko ahead of what will be his fifth Games.
In the past year he's also completed an MBA, and written a book describing some of the incredible challenges he's endured.
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"I love challenging myself and seeing how far I can push my body and push my mind, at the end of the day for me it's not about the competition it's about seeing how far I can go as a person," Levy says.
"It's a lot quieter [in Canberra] not too many cars. The getting around part is a lot more tricky for me being vision impaired and not driving.
"I haven't seen a bus [in Bruce] but everything's within 10 minutes of everything so it's very easy to get a taxi or get an Uber or carpool here, it's not too complicated."
Levy has a shunt in his head, which constantly drains fluid to the abdomen.
It all stems from the debilitating brain bleed he had in his first few days after being born, and helps reduce internal pressure whenever there is another accumulation of fluid.
In some people a shunt in the brain can last a lifetime.
But for a man who has been pushing his body to its physical limit for almost two decades, it requires replacing every 10 years. The last such surgery came in 2017.
"These days it's not too invasive, but they do have to drill in there and take bits out, that's the invasive bit," Levy says.
"The tubing, if it's all intact, they just replace the top part and make sure the bottom part's flowing and that kind of stuff. I've got a lot of broken tubes in my neck from old shunts they couldn't take out, they were blocked halfway down.
"They keep them in there [because] of the nerves."
After every such surgery, Levy has to learn to walk again. And there's always still that small chance that something might go wrong.
"When I had my last operation [they said] there's an X [per cent] chance that you could die, you could get this, you could get that," Levy nonchalantly explains.
"There's always a bit of damage that they do, playing around in there. Taking those first steps after a brain operation is always difficult, your body's in a bit of shock.
"I remember the early years in the teens, learning to walk took a lot longer...it would take many days to work out how the motor pattern works. I don't exactly know why but the fiddling around in there definitely plays a big part in it."
Swimming has always played a therapeutic role for Levy. It helps loosen his limbs, and provides him with a non-stressful recovery outlet from surgery.
But when he watched the Sydney Paralympics 20 years ago as a young teenager, something clicked for Levy. He realised he should be in that pool, competing for his country.
Four years later he represented Australia at the Athens Games.
"I got a burning desire to want to do it more than just floating around and doing it for health reasons," Levy said.
"From there I went to a few swim meets, I started to learn the strokes and it all fell into place.
Freestyle and butterfly are his areas of expertise, and in 2003 he broke the 200m freestyle short course record.
"It's been a relatively long journey and I still always do it for health reasons but it's great to do it for other reasons as well and to know that you can keep improving on what you're doing the day before.
"My parents were great at pointing me in the right directions. I had good coaches, I had good people around me that taught me what I need to know.
"When you think about it, it was a relatively quick rise. I have been doing swimming all my life, it was nothing that I didn't know already it was just a matter of getting a bit quicker and a bit faster."