Adaptive/Disabled Open Water Swimmers
In September 2020 I was supposed to be swimming Lake Windermere Two Way, not only as a challenge for me but also to raise money and raise awareness of open water swimmers with disabilities. I wanted to do this to make others realise that there are people with many different kinds of disabilities that swim in open water and so access to the sport needs to be improved. The swim didn’t happen due to Covid19 and is now scheduled for September 1st 2021 instead.
Over the past year I have written many articles, blogs and been interviewed for several articles written by others and even interviewed for a podcast. I have also been in contact with event organisers, the Outdoor Swimmer magazine, Swim England and thanks to doing my Level 2 Coaching course I also have contacts with the STA through the Open Water Olympic Medallist Keri-anne Payne too.
How the group started…
Over the past year I realised how little information there is about disabled open water swimmers and I decided I wanted to change that. I took to social media and started the Adaptive/Disabled Open Water Swimmers group; I wasn’t expecting much to come from it but in January 2021 the group exploded. I had more than 150 member requests in the space of 24 hours! The response was incredible, there were people with all kinds of disabilities joining, from amputees to those that had suffered a stroke and even visually impaired swimmers.
The group has now grown and has almost 300 members in it, people post daily sharing their swims, sharing the highs and lows of their disabilities and people often ask questions and for advice. I am hoping that the group is going to continue to grow and as Covid19 restrictions lift that people will be able to meet and swim together. I am also hoping that in the future we may be able to organise larger meet ups.
Since starting the group I have received many kind emails and messages thanking me for setting up the group and have been told that it has helped disabled swimmers feel less alone. It has created a community and environment that is safe and where people can share the challenges and frustrations we face as swimmers with disabilities.