West Suffolk Swimming Club uses club development plan to introduce new venture
West Suffolk Swimming Club formed in 1998 from the merger of two local swimming clubs and is on its way to becoming one of the largest competitive swimming clubs in East Anglia.
The club prides itself on putting its swimmers first and with some 270 swimming members it looks to provide an inclusive experience catering for those starting out in competition to those competing at national level.
Although the club has had a small senior disability squad for a number of years, it wished to increase its size and to attract new disability swimmers to join.
The club achieved Clubmark in 2010 and as part of the scheme it is advised that clubs produce a development plan for the coming year.
West Suffolk Swimming Club added the proposed action to its club development plan for 2010-2011 and there are now 5 swimmers who form the swimlink disability squad, training once a week with the aim to reach a standard where they can swim alongside the main junior squads and compete at relevant competitions.
The main challenges of this venture involved identifying pool-time and staff availability. Many disabled children never have the opportunity to learn to swim initially and children with disabilities are often disadvantaged because of the cost of lessons in view of the need to have specific help in the water and the length of time it takes for them to learn.
The club enlisted the help of one of its coaches and a senior swimmer and managed to secure a club rate for pool-time and received start-up funding from the ASA, which helped to cover pool hire costs.
The lessons commenced January 2011 following a trial where a number of children with various disabilities were invited to partake in activities. The disability squad has now competed in its first swim-ability gala with plans for more in the future and all children have grown in confidence and their swimming technique has improved.
Future plans for the club include looking for a partnership deal with a local leisure centre to identify further swimming opportunities for children with disabilities and seeing the venture expanded to other swimming centres based nearby.
Wed, 20/07/2011 - 12:15pm