A fully inclusive activity

One of the great things about swimming is that it’s a fully inclusive activity open to people with a wide range of physical, sensory and intellectual disabilities. Swimming is not only a great way to get fit and meet people but is also extremely therapeutic for people with disabilities. The movement of the body in water offers a sense of freedom for those with limited mobility and can provide effective physiotherapy, making swimming the sport of choice for many disabled young people and adults.

Paralympic medallist and world champion swimmer Matthew Whorwood explains:

“Swimming is great because it’s non-impact and a good way to get fit without risking injury. Also, once you’re in the pool you’re the same as everyone else, any physical disabilities are irrelevant.”

Close up of a young paralympic swimmer Nyree Lewis

Hub Clubs specialise in providing support for disabled swimmers by working locally in partnership with Swim England to deliver advice and training for disabled swimmers. They will assess the individual swimmer at local pools and signpost to the relevant opportunity, which could be a mainstream club. Joining a swimming club is a great way to develop an interest, make friends and have fun.

To track down the nearest disability swimming hub club to you use the interactive Google Map here.

FREE Para Swimming Taster Sessions

Swimming Clubs across the country are hosting free taster sessions to help discover the next generation of para-swimmers as part of the Commonwealth Games Inspired to Try campaign. The sessions will be hosted by 12 clubs throughout July and August and aim to get disabled youngsters more active in the water.

Places can now be booked for youngsters aged between six and 17 years old with physical and sensory impairments. Find out more and book on the Inspired to Try para-swimming taster sessions.

Book a FREE taster session

Para swimming session

Access Considerations

The law demands that swimmers with a disability have the same access to pools as non-disabled swimmers. Access routes to pools must be wheelchair-friendly and wheelchair users must have access to the water. Electric wheelchairs powered by wet batteries are not allowed on poolside due to the risk of leakage but pool operators must provide an alternative.

Access to pools for people with disabilities is set to improve even more through the introduction of Poolpod at some pools in the UK. Poolpod is a unique lift mechanism that fits to the side of swimming pools. The submersible and mobile platform enables independent access for disabled swimmers and removes the need for a hoist or swing.

The submersible wheelchair allows users to transfer from their own wheelchair in the privacy of the changing room. Once in the Poolpod, the user activates the system using an electronic wristband, it then takes around 20 seconds to lower the platform into the water.

Do you want to know more about getting into competitive para-swimming? Or maybe you have your heart set on becoming a para-swimmer in England? Have a look at the five key steps on the pathway to becoming a para-swimmer here. Many of England’s top Paralympic swimmers will have taken these steps on their journey to the top of the sport.

Further information:

If you have questions about para-swimming in the United Kingdom, then please get in touch via paraswimming@swimming.org

Visit the British Swimming website

Swimming at the 2019 Inter Spinal Unit Games (Stoke Mandeville Stadium)

Swimming at the 2019 Inter Spinal Unit Games (Stoke Mandeville Stadium)

Logo for Movement Activity Sport - WheelPower Partner
Logo for Stewarts - WheelPower Partner Logo for Serco - WheelPower Partner Logo for More Leisure - WheelPower Partner Logo for National Lottery/Sport England - WheelPower Partner Logo for Wheelwrights - WheelPower Partner