Learn to Swim Day 2023 | Mary's Story

The importance of swimming lessons for children with a disability


Swimming for children with disabilities is the biggest unmet need in sport. The water takes your weight; it’s a true leveller.  It relieves pain and offers freedom and independence that many of our children never experience elsewhere.


Level Water are an incredible charity who provide 1:1 swimming lessons for children with disabilities across the UK. This Learn to Swim Day, we have collaborated with our friends at Level Water to bring you their top advice for parents, stories of children and swim teacher tips for getting children with a disability learning to swim.


Mary’s swim story:


Mary's journey in swimming has been extraordinary. From her early days of water babies classes to her recent open water triumphs, she has truly embraced the power of swimming.


Under the guidance of her fabulous Everyone Active teachers at Henbury Leisure Centre, Mary's confidence in the water soared. The teachers immediately recognised Mary's enthusiasm and ability and wasted no time in helping her swim without any aids. It was an incredible leap forward, and Mary's growth in both skill and self-esteem was evident. When her lessons were paused due to the Covid-19 pandemic, her enthusiasm remained, and she was quick to pick up where she left off once the pool reopened and her lessons resumed.

Level water ParentsLevel water Parents

Not only did Mary's swimming lessons shape her individual journey, but they also brought her family closer together. Her mum stating;


“Mary starting lessons again has also meant that we are once again going swimming as a family more often, which is something we used to do all the time! We go every Sunday altogether and what’s so nice about it is that it’s one of the few activities that Mary can participate in without hesitation or fear of falling over. She can just do what the rest of us do!


With her increased confidence, skill and love for the water, Mary's search for adventure led her to an extraordinary opportunity – the Bantham Mini Swoosh.


An 800-metre swim down a cold, fast-flowing river, this swim was a test of her courage and resilience. But Mary jumped at the chance, fueled by the incredible progress she had made in her swimming lessons. On the day of the swim, Mary's family joined her in this exhilarating adventure, creating memories that would last a lifetime, with the whole family planning on repeating the day again this year.


Mary's dedication and unwavering commitment to her swimming lessons were a testament to their profound impact. As her mum says “As a typical young person who mostly wants to stay in her bedroom watching TikTok videos, the fact that Mary has never once said she doesn’t want to go to her swimming lessons, is a true testament to how important they are to her and how much she enjoys them!