Out of a wheelchair and into the pool – Lindsay’s #LoveSwimming story

Love Swimming

Lindsay Fricker was left wheelchair bound for a decade after a series of medical complications.

Having been born with a curvature of the spine and diagnosed with asthma aged 30, she took steroids as a form of treatment.

But when that resulted in osteoporosis and led to crushed fractures in her spine, Lindsay lost a significant level of mobility.

Determined to walk unaided again, Lindsay heeded the advice of a consultant, who suggested swimming would help improve her strength and fitness.

It proved successful and the Kensington resident no longer needs a wheelchair and goes swimming three times a week.

Her story is part of the latest Swim England-led #LoveSwimming campaign Moving Medicine, which urges the medical profession to be more proactive in prescribing swimming as part of a programme of activity to manage medical conditions and aid recovery.

She said: “Swimming has had such a positive impact on my physical health. When I’m in the water, I’m free of pain and my whole outlook on life has dramatically improved.”

A new challenge

Emboldened by the freedom of swimming, Lindsay decided to set herself a new challenge.

She successfully completed the Swimathon for the first time in 2017, swimming 1.5km in the pool at Kensington Leisure Centre.

“One day when I came for a lesson, there was a big banner up talking about the Swimathon and I thought ‘I’ll have a go at that’,” she said.

“I hadn’t realised just how far it was, because I asked one of the lifeguards how many lengths of the pool it was and he told me it was 30. Then I got here and found out it was 60! I’ve done it three times now.

“Swimming gives me freedom that I don’t have on land. I can’t walk far, but I can swim 60 lengths.

“Anyone with a disability, or mobility issue, it gives you a freedom that you don’t have on land.”

The #LoveSwimming campaign

The #LoveSwimming campaign is delivered by Swim England in partnership with 1 Life, Active Nation, Active Lifestyle Centres managed by Circadian Trust, Everyone Active, Freedom Leisure, GLL, Gateshead Council, Leicester City Council, Nottingham City Council, Nuffield Health, Places for People and Serco.

Moving Medicine is the latest wave of the campaign and has featured other swimmers highlighting the benefits of swimming on their physical health, including Steve Wright, who began swimming as a form of rehabilitation after suffering a stroke, Paul Kirby, who suffered intense back pain after years of working a desk job and Wanda Stockdale, who says visits to the pool have helped her manage her osteoarthritis.