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SwimABLE youngsters with additional support needs win medals at Grampian Disability Sport swim gala in Fraserburgh


By Garry McCartney


Amelia Ward, Ava Rooke, Theodore Stephen, coach James Whiteside, Chloe Drew, sports development manager, Coen Thornhill and Mathew McCreadie.
Amelia Ward, Ava Rooke, Theodore Stephen, coach James Whiteside, Chloe Drew, sports development manager, Coen Thornhill and Mathew McCreadie.

SIX young athletes competed for a local additional support group at a swimming event in Aberdeenshire.

Amelia Ward (9), Ava Rooke (10), Theodore Stephen (8) and Coen Thornhill (9) from Forres, Chloe Drew (10) from Elgin and Mathew McCreadie (16) from Inverness represented SwimABLE Scotland at Grampian Disability Sport's swim gala in Fraserburgh.

SwimABLE sports development manager Kev Anderson said: "I was chuffed the kids had mastered the skills and confidence to attend the event.

"It highlights a lack of opportunities that we are trying to address - it's the first group that we are aware of specialising in disability/condition swimming to teach and train consistently and travel out of the area to participate in galas at this level."

The gala was for swimmers of all ages with physical, sensory or learning disabilities who are able to swim at least 25m.

The Friendly Access - SwimABLE Scotland project was launched in 2014 to connect service users to providers and vice versa, through education, support and innovation technology. It provides training tailored in understanding autism and environmental issues, environmental assessments and an opportunity to build a safe network. The project delivers a holistic approach on structured swimming group sessions at Forres Swimming Pool with Active School Moray. Children with disabilities, condition and behavioural issues are referred by their schools. Their progress is monitored, evaluated and fed back.

Mr Anderson said: "We couldn't be more proud of the progress and achievements these guys have made. The team has grown in confidence, determination and resilience to challenge their expectations.

"From the moment they entered the water at Fraserburgh they, put on an incredible display of talent and focus."

Fraserburgh was most of the team's first gala.

Mr Anderson finished: "Medals are not the focus but it was the icing on the cake for all six to take home a gold medal each. Some of the team jingled all the way home, with more than one podium result."



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