Personal Stories

Thinking about getting into swimming? Then read these stories of other young swimmers to help inspire you.


Quadruple amputee Danielle went to a swimming assessment day in 2010 where she was sent to Harrogate District swimming club.

There she enjoyed one-to-one lessons and trained with her coach, as well disability and club squads.

She made it onto the ASA Home Nation Regional Talent Programme in April 2011, and swam at their National Youth Championships in July that year.

Shortly afterwards Danielle was given a place on the 2011-2012 British Disability Swimming World Class Talent Programme.

Danielle now hopes to make the team for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio. She says:

Don’t think that you cannot do something without trying it first. I always thought I wasn’t very good at swimming!


Elliot (see picture above) is autistic and is learning to swim at school with extra support and a disability-trained teacher. He’s also had some one-to-one lessons.

Dad Ian says: “Elliot finds social situations quite challenging and has communication difficulties but after a swimming lesson he chatters away telling me all about it and all the fun he has had.

His sense of achievement when he gets things right is wonderful for his self-esteem.

If you have autism you may not always be aware of the dangers of swimming. Learning to swim will teach you a life saving skill.

It will also help you with balance, movement and coordination, and because swimming doesn’t have to be a team activity, you don’t have to learn any difficult rules like other sports.

Olivia Mae

Olivia Mae has cerebral palsy. She learned to swim when she was six and had lessons at school.

Her local club didn't take her disability into account and said she didn't meet the qualifying times to become a competitive swimmer.

Then she attended the Surrey County Athlete Assessment Day. Just a few short weeks later, Olivia Mae started training weekly with Guildford City Swimming Club.

Now the proud owner of two bronze medals won at the Nationwide Junior Championships in Sheffield, Olivia Mae’s long-term goal is to qualify for the 2016 or 2020 Paralympic Games. She says:

It’s been so exciting attending all the events. I never thought I would be good enough, but I have tried my best and got lots of personal bests.