Elite athletes to support para-swimming taster session in Northampton

Elite athletes are set to support an upcoming para-swimming taster session, which has been described as a ‘great opportunity’ for disabled people to get involved in the sport.

Northampton Swimming Club, one of more than 30 clubs that are registered as a Swim England Start Para-Swimming Club, have partnered with Northamptonshire Sport and Northamptonshire Federation of Disability Sport (NFDS) to organise the event.

It is a free session which will take place on Saturday 25 February at The Duston School in Northampton from 10am – 12pm, and will be open to anyone with a disability, or sensory impairment, of any age.

A number of athletes, including Paralympic champion Masie Summers-Newton, will be in attendance to support the swimmers and answer their questions.

The session will be delivered by qualified coaches from Northampton Swimming Club who will work with participants to start teaching those who can’t already swim to do so and assess and improve those who already can.

This taster session also connects well with the national governing body’s Start Para-Swimming programme, which aims to improve access and create opportunities for young disabled people to get involved in aquatics.

The programme acts as an introduction to para-swimming, with sessions that are delivered by Swim England qualified coaches and teachers to form a key stepping stone in introducing swimmers to the para-swimming pathway.

It also enables the Swim England Para-Swimming Talent team to be aware of swimmers much earlier in their journey, which could result in swimmers being invited onto the talent programme which aids the development of athletes for both national and international competition.

‘A great opportunity’

Ahead of the event, Swim England’s para-swimming development manager, Martin Lees, expressed the importance of the opportunity.

He said: “This taster session presents a great opportunity for disabled people to get involved in swimming and to experience what club opportunities exist in their local area.

“The first step in the water is the most important and that is what these taster sessions are designed for. We’re excited to witness the next generation of para-swimmers develop and evolve.

“It promises to be a lot of fun, so I’d encourage people to get involved and book their places quickly so they don’t miss out.”

Andy Sharp, Northampton Swimming Club’s Director of Swimming, is hopeful that the attendees are inspired to continue in the sport.

He said: “Having the World Championships in Manchester this year is very exciting and we hope there will be swimmers from Northamptonshire taking part in them.

“It would be great if attendees of our event go up to watch them and get inspired to swim competitively.

“So many of the ones flying the flag for our county on the global stage did exactly that by watching the likes of Ellie Simmonds in action at the 2012 Paralympics in London which started this whole successful process off for us.”

Following the session, attendees will be signposted to regular opportunities on where they can continue their swimming journey based on their ability.

You can book your place on the session here or for any further information, contact Graeme Wilson from Northamptonshire Sport at Graeme.Wilson@northamptonshiresport.org.