We spoke to a number of teachers, parents, pupils and governors at this year’s U14 North of England Swimming Finals about the influence Panathlon has had on their children. Scroll down to take a look!
Whitehouse Primary School governor and parent, Stephanie Wilson: “I am proud as a parent but also as a governor. It is quite impressive that these things exist because we are included and it is nice to see children win and enjoy themselves because that is what its all about.
“They love just being part of a team and winning medals goes down really well – I know my daughter has got all of hers on the wall so that is important.
“Sometimes with a child that has a disability they spend a lot of time watching the world go by and that is hard on them. So to see children confined to wheelchairs in the pool today is brilliant. If events like Panathlon didn’t exist that wouldn’t happen so it is really important.
“My daughter (Kate Wilson, 11) for example is a triplet and the only one with a disability. But because she comes here and goes to swimming lessons with the school, that has given her the confidence to try new things. I think it is easy to just accept your lot but this really pushes you to achieve more than you think you can.”
Merefield School (Merseyside) teacher, Katy Calder: “Our trip today is just massive for us – some of the kids have never been on a train before. We met this morning at 7am which is much earlier than usual but the travelling was great.
“Being at the Panathlon events is just an exciting challenge for them. It’s less of a competition but more of just the daily challenge and the things they go through every day. Pushing through those barriers to be at events like this is just amazing.
“They just love being in the water and swimming with each other. This is all about the taking part for them. They are going to be absolutely thrilled and already they have been saying to me ‘Mummy is going to be so proud’ and that is what it is about for us – the taking part and enjoying it.”
St Catherine’s Academy (South Yorkshire) parent, Emily Tredoux: “They all love to show off their medals after the swimming as well as the t-shirts and the towels. Coming home with something that they have achieved is amazing. My son’s medals are all hanging up on his bedroom wall so that everyone can see them.
“It really has been absolutely amazing for all the kids. I am slightly hoarse from cheering everybody! You feel like you have to cheer for everyone’s child. Everyone just wants each other to do well and the atmosphere has been brilliant.
“When you see the kids jumping out of the water you can see those that have achieved something are really proud and that is great.”
St Catherine’s Academy (South Yorkshire) building supervisor, Andy Wilson: “This kind of event is fantastic. I never realised just how much goes into one of these. We have been to them before at school and the kids always bring back medals and say they have had a great time.
“But I didn’t realise how much of a great time these kids really have. They try their hardest and it really is mind-blowing. You can see it on their faces – they really do get so much out of this.
“They try their best which is all they can do and they love it. Watching them now doing a raft race is just fantastic.
“I just hope that this kind of event can help some of these kids move onto higher education.”
His grandson Cole Stansfield: “I have really enjoyed the swimming – the basketball (slam dunk), being underwater and the backstroke. I love the racing as well!
“When I get home I’m going to put my medal on my bedroom wall.”
To read our report from Wednesday’s Finals, just click HERE!