World Champion helps inspire next generation of children with a disability to learn to swim

← Back to News

Aberdeen-based athlete Toni Shaw, a multi medallist from the 2019 World Para Swimming World Championships, today helped launch Scottish Swimming’s #SeeMyAbility campaign, which aims to encourage children with a disability to learn to swim as part of the National Learn to Swim Framework, proudly supported by Scottish Water.

The National Learn to Swim Framework is an inclusive programme that develops opportunities and provides a progressive pathway for children with a physical, sensory or learning impairment. Scottish Swimming support Learn to Swim Providers across Scotland to ensure inclusion of children with a disability in their mainstream programmes.

Toni Shaw, who learned to swim at her local pool, progressed to her local club, Cults Otters, and is now part of the University of Aberdeen Performance Swim squad, said of the campaign,

“I’m really proud to be an ambassador for the Learn to Swim Framework and really pleased that children with a disability are taught in inclusive learn to swim environments. If there’s someone with a disability and the swimming teachers are aware of the impairment the lessons can be adapted.

“It’s great to develop as a swimmer and be seen beyond my disability. This has helped me integrate into a performance environment where I get to train alongside other world-class athletes.”

Scottish Swimming hope the #SeeMyAbility campaign will get parents to talk more openly about their child’s disability and encourage them to get their child into mainstream swimming environments. At the same time swimming teachers and coaches will be provided with a resource toolkit to help them teach and coach in an inclusive way.

Paul Wilson, Disability Performance Development Manager, Scottish Swimming said:

“Scottish Swimming’s vision is ‘everyone can swim’ and learning to swim is an activity for all regardless of ability or disability and the whole swimming pathway can be taught in an inclusive way.

“Swimming provides the opportunity to learn a life skill whilst interacting and having fun in a group environment. This should be no different for a child with a disability.”

Scottish Swimming continue to work in partnership with Scottish Disability Sport to provide opportunities along the full aquatic pathway, and Gavin MacLeod, CEO, Scottish Disability Sport said of the campaign,

“Scottish Swimming is a great example of a sport’s governing body that is committed to and actively delivering their sport in an inclusive way and this is particularly prominent with their work around developing inclusive club environments and engagement with local partners.”

The National Learn to Swim Framework aims to raise standards and achieve consistency in swimming programmes across Scotland and is proudly supported by Scottish Water.

Brian Lironi, Director of Corporate Affairs, Scottish Water, also commented on the campaign,

“We are proud to support the National Learn to Swim Framework and are delighted that it will have reached more than 100000 children across Scotland giving inclusive opportunities for all children to become confident, competent and safe swimmers.”

More information is available here.