Swim England

A nation swimming

Young swimmer Charly shares her story as part of Down Syndrome Awareness Month

On Down Syndrome Awareness Month, young swimmer Charly has shared her story as she hits milestones and personal bests in the water.

Twelve-year-old Charly has Down Syndrome and has been swimming since she was a baby. She continues to make progress despite being told she may never have the ability to swim properly.

Her mum, Lydia, says her daughter has surpassed all expectations, continues to break her own records and is doing ‘absolutely brilliantly’.

Born with a hole in her heart, Charly was extremely unwell from birth. She has now built up her strength and uses swimming to continue to improve both her physical and mental wellbeing.

The youngster swims at CV Life’s Xcel Leisure Centre and is part of Aquarius Swim School. On Charly’s achievements, mum Lydia said: “We have always been parents that will never stop our girls from trying out things they wanted to get involved in.

“Charly used to watch her older sister swim each week and she so desperately wanted to try it too. So, after attending a couple of different swim schools, we have now found Aquarius Swim School where Charly attends weekly.

“The staff are so great with Charly and treat her like the other students. Now swimming with teacher Ravi, she is progressing more than ever.

“He treats her the same as the rest of the children in her class which she likes. It’s so important that, as a young person with Down Syndrome, she understands water safety and how to look after herself in the water.

We are so proud of her

“By attending Ravi’s classes, we have managed to find a way to succeed in that.

“Charly is a very determined young lady, and she is doing absolutely brilliantly. We are so proud of her and can’t wait to see her make new records for herself.”

Ravi Nakra, swimming teacher at Aquarius Swim School, added: “I am always surprised by how much energy and confidence Charly oozes. I love teaching her and she never fails to brighten the classes.

“At CV Life and Aquarius, we give all of our students the same respect and challenge them all with their abilities in mind.

“Just like we see with Charly, progress is always the outcome and it’s so rewarding to see. Alongside this, Charly’s disability is taken very seriously, and we understand that she needs additional support to maintain her progress.

“We welcome children and adults of all abilities to try out our swim school. We will always go out of our way to make everyone feel comfortable and get the best out of them.”

Lydia also added that she would recommend swimming to children of all abilities and states it can be done relatively cheaply.

To learn more about Down Syndrome Awareness Month, visit www.downs-syndrome.org.uk.