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Swim England and partners set up Para-swimming London project

Swim England have joined forces with a number of partners to set up the new Para-swimming London project to help get more young disabled people into the pool.

The national governing body are working with Level Water, London Swimming, Evalina Children’s Hospital and London Sport on a project which hopes to find the para-swimmers of the future.

The project comes after Swim England research identified that there are a low number of para-swimmers in particular boroughs of the nation’s capital.

Bromley, Bexley, Greenwich, Lambeth, Lewisham and Southark are the six boroughs that are being targeted by the initiative that will look to set up a Start Para Swimming programme within the surrounding area.

Start Para Swimming programmes act 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.

The programmes enable 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, that develops athletes for both national and international competition.

‘Improving opportunities’

Funding for the project comes after Swim England teamed up with Level Water to successfully apply for part of the together me fund that is managed by London Sport.

The funding will be used to deliver specific 1:1 swimming lessons through Level Water, free family disability taster sessions as well as CPD opportunities for teachers and coaches to establish a Start Para-Swimming connection and to create a pathway that is open and accessible for future generations.

Work on the campaign has already begun and by the end of the month Level Water are aiming for 20 youngsters to have started their 1:1 swimming lessons.

On Friday February 17 there will be a free swimming taster session at the Castle Centre which will be open to anyone with a physical disability ahead of the launch of a Start Para-Swimming programme in March.

Martin Lees, Swim England para-swimming development manager, is excited about the benefits that the scheme will bring.

He said: “This is a really exciting project where partners are working together to improve local opportunities for young disabled people to access and benefit from swimming.

“We are particularly excited about launching Start Para-Swimming in March, this will help to provide opportunities to progress their aquatic skills with the idea of becoming a para-swimmer in the near future and become a member of the swimming club.”

You can find out more and express your interest in the taster session here.