Published: Nov 29, 2012 10:32:22 AM Updated: Nov 29, 2012 10:35:24 AM
Australia’s all-conquering EnergyAustralia Paralympic Swim Team is encouraging everyone in the swimming community to support the International Day of People with Disability - this Monday 3 December 2012.
To celebrate the day, Swimming Australia is encouraging the swimming community to acknowledge and promote the contribution and opportunities people with disability have made to our sport.
Swimming Australia’s aim is to make inclusive practice part of its core business, and will be looking to capitalise on the recent Paralympic success by encouraging people with disability to get involved in the sport through their local club and or state association.
Australia’s most successful Paralympian of all-time, Matt Cowdrey, who was named Swimmers’ Swimmer at this year’s EnergyAustralia Swimmer of the Year Awards, knows just how important inclusion is, especially for children.
“The reason I succeeded was because I was given a chance as a kid and really enjoyed it,” said Cowdrey.
“I played as many sports as I could growing up, basketball, football, cricket and of course swimming, and I hope our team success in London this year can inspire the next generation of Paralympic stars.
Melbourne born Ellie Cole who won four Paralympic gold medals in London this year, said swimming has been such a huge part of her life since losing her leg to cancer as a three-year-old.
“I love the water, love competing, and love the social aspect of the sport,” said Cole who turns 21 next month.
“Swimming has provided me with so many opportunities already in life, to travel the world and meet new people, not to mention compete on the world stage, and I really hope there are a lot more to come.”
Swimming Australia is working towards a number of initiatives in the inclusive space, including the establishment of a new National Inclusion Framework to guide the sport into the future; a range of resources for clubs to help build awareness and create opportunities; participation funding; and funding for a three year research project to investigate community swimming engagement and health, social and sport outcomes for participants.
Earlier this year, Swimming Australia launched our GO Club Inclusive Club Standard survey to help clubs identify areas they can improve in order to be more inclusive.
More than 140 clubs took part in the survey and utilised the resources supplied by Swimming Australia which resulted in a significant membership increase for swimmers with a disability.
Swimming welcomes people of all abilities with competitive pathways for people with physical, intellectual, hearing and vision impairment as well as people who have received a transplant. For more information on Swimming Australia and disability inclusion follow the links at www.swimming.org.au or to get involved in the International Day of People with Disability go to www.idpwd.com.au