SportsAble To Host Inclusive Swim Gala for Southern Region

SportsAble is hosting an external disability swimming gala on October 20th at St Andrews School, Pangbourne, and inviting young swimmers throughout the region to enter.

It is the first time in 30 years that SportsAble has been able to secure accessible pool time and host a gala that can cater to competitors from outside its own swimming section. It is an opportunity made possible following the successful partnership with St Andrew’s School, that saw SportsAble advise designers on the creation of a fully-accessible swimming pool, as part of its £4 million multi-sport centre which opened earlier this year.

Sharon Bridge, SportsAble Swimming Coach said, “We were delighted when St Andrew’s approached us regarding their new swimming pool. It provides us with an excellent venue for swimming and has pool time available on Saturday daytime, which is impossible to get anywhere else. This time suits families and young children, so we are absolutely thrilled to be able to provide them with this opportunity. We even have a race for siblings to take part in too, so it’s a fully inclusive gala.”

Working alongside the SportsAble team is Dave White, former Para-Swimming co-ordinator for Swim England. Dave has extensive experience in para-swimming, from talent spotting to organising galas like this in other parts of the country.

Dave explains, “It is so important to be able to provide young disabled swimmers, who are not competitive, with an opportunity to compete. There is a lot of support for children who are on the competition circuit, but very little opportunity for those children who aren’t. I am delighted that I can work with SportsAble and St Andrew’s to host this Gala.”

The SportsAble Gala is primarily aimed at children over the age of six, with a physical, visual or intellectual impairment, from anywhere in the south of England.  Swimmers can have any flotation devices that they need, and they are also allowed a volunteer in the water for encouragement.

The youngsters can choose to compete in all, or any, of the four swimming strokes over 25 metres. There is also a race for able-bodied siblings to enter. Medals will be awarded for the first three places and commemorative certificates for all participating swimmers in the disabled category and the able-bodied siblings.

Sharon concludes, “The SportsAble Swimming Team is extremely proud to be able to offer this event in our region and hope that it is the first one of many. We would also like to extend our thanks to St Andrews school for sharing their great facility. “

To register a swimmer for the event, please email Dave White at swimprojects@virginmedia.com.

There is a nominal charge of £5 for every disabled entry and £2 for the Sibling Splash race.

For more information about SportsAble visit www.sportsable.co.uk, call 01628 627690 or email sharon.bridge@sportsable.co.uk.