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Swimming

Hackney Swim picThe primary purpose of the Panathlon swim programme is to introduce severely disabled young people to water experiences for the first time.

We have seen a huge growth in demand for swimming since the launch of programme in 2013 and throughout 2014.

The 2013/14 school year saw 13 events take place across the length and breadth of the country – from Kent and London in the south to Tyne & Wear and Merseyside in the north – with approximately 500 disabled young people involved.

The format, which encourages swimmers and non-swimmers alike to participate in individual and team challenges, has enabled children to have improved and first-time experiences in a pool, with around 35% of the 500 participants enjoying being in a pool for the first time.

We also had two Paralympic gold medal swimmers attend our competitions in 2014, helping out in the water – see both the videos on this page.

This short film explains the format of the Panathlon swim programme:

We have already had expressions of interest from at least three new counties for introducing swimming in the 2014/15 school year, so there will be further growth in the year ahead!

Our charity ambassador, Liz Johnson, who visited our East London swimming competition in January 2014, said: “It’s fantastic that Panathlon now includes swimming, which again demonstrates how far Panathlon has come in a few years.

“I’ve seen Panathlon grow bigger across the country and add new elements like the Primary Panathlon and new sports, such as my own, swimming. I’ve had a great time in the water today and maybe one day, who knows, a new Paralympic swimmer may come from a competition such as this!”

We wish to thank our funders including Swimathon, the Hedley Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, the Wembley National Stadium Trust and our local sponsors for allowing this activity to happen across the country.

Here are some highlights from the East London Panathlon swimming event in January 2014: