Swim England expands Start Para-Swimming to inspire next generation

Swim England is providing a clear pathway for the English para-swimming stars of the future – as it expands the Start Para-Swimming programme.

Following successful pilots in City of Manchester Aquatics Centre and Plymouth Life Centre, eight centres in London have agreed to join the programme, which acts as an introduction to para-swimming.

The sessions are delivered by Swim England qualified coaches and teachers and form a key stepping stone in introducing swimmers to the para-swimming pathway.

Start Para-Swimming enables the Swim England Para-Swimming Talent team to be aware of swimmers much earlier in their journey.

This could result in the swimmers being invited onto the talent programme, which develops athletes for national and international competition.

Abi’s success story

Abigail Daly has progressed onto the Swim England Para-Swimming Talent Programme, having first been introduced to the sport through Start Para-Swimming.

After being inspired by the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, Abi’s mum, Jan, sought out opportunities and discovered the sessions at Everyone Active’s Life Centre in Plymouth.

Abi worked on her stroke with her coach, Sam, and made the transition to Devonport Royal Swimming Club, where she linked up with her current coach, Iain.

Since joining the club, Abi has been classified and is now a recognised S14 para-swimmer, competing at local and national events.

The youngster’s swift progress led her to be invited to join the Talent Programme in 2018 and she has certainly flourished after her latest step on the pathway.

At the Swim England National Summer Meet 2019, Abi set new personal bests in the 100m Butterfly, 100m Breaststroke and 200m Freestyle, winning gold in the latter event.

Swim England Para-Swimming Development Manager, Martin Lees, said: “We will continue to work with swimming clubs across the country to create more Start Para-Swimming centres.

“We hope many more young people with an eligible impairment, like Abi, can develop their skills and become para-swimmers who may one day be invited on to the Talent Programme.”

If you would like to find out more about how to get involved in para-swimming, click here or email the Swim England Para-Swimming Talent team at [email protected].