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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 now involves over a thousand swimmers a year.

The 2016/17 school year saw 23 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 1,000 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 participants enjoying being in a pool for the first time.

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

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

Our charity ambassador, Liz Johnson, who has attended multiple Panathlon swimming competition 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!”

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