Clinics catering for Kiwis with a disability to be active in the water
A pilot programme aimed at engaging with Kiwis living with a disability has seen over 200 get involved in regional swim clinics around the country.
Run between July and December 2022, 13 Disability Swim Clinics were delivered with the intention of offering aquatic opportunity and connecting with various local providers to encourage activity in the water.
The programme has been dubbed a success by Swimming New Zealand’s Disability and Para Swimming Participation Manager Cameron Leslie after it reached 80+ more than hoped.
“It really has shown the demand to do more and connect more with this level of swimmer living with a disability. There are so many disabled tamariki and rangatahi receiving swimming lessons and we are trying to begin our relationship with them and their whanau earlier so we can hopefully help their journey be a positive one.”
Leslie added this was simply year one where learning opportunities were taken and 2024’s series would include more clinics and be slightly re-structured.
Supported by Sport NZ funding, the clinics have been championed by Participation Coordinator Hannah Cartman and saw Swimming Hawkes Bay Poverty Bay region boast the highest number of registrations with 25.
SNZ’s Head of Participation and Events, Dale Johnson, felt it was a worthwhile programme – noting the results speak for themselves.
“From our perspective, we want to help everyone have a positive experience in the water. That means supporting those with aspirations of representing New Zealand at the Olympics and Paralympics, through to those who swim for enjoyment and health, right through to being safe and confident in the water, and whether you have a disability or not.”
“The feedback we had was that aiming to meet 120 new swimmers with a disability was lofty, but Hannah and Cam have proven the demand. Our goal as a national body is to have more people swimming more often, including those living with a disability, and this programme has certainly achieved that.”
Leslie said the plan going forwards was to continue delivering the clinics before the regional bodies took full ownership of them in 2025/26 or when they felt ready. He added there would be further clinics where demand was high and/or geographical challenges caused barriers to participate.