On Sunday 2nd April City of Derby SC held their first ever Talent ID session for disabled swimmers from across Derbyshire. This session supports our new role as a hub club for disability and para-swimming in ensuring that swimmers with disabilities have a place to seek support, advice and ascertain whether they wish to pursue classification and competitive swimming.
The session was supported by Head Coach, Mandy, coach, Rich Pilcher, and Disability Liaison Officer, Jo Smith, along with Carl Cooper, the Para Swimming Pathway Officer for our region. It was widely advertised and attracted five swimmers who spent 90 minutes in the water at Queens Leisure Centre.
The children had an amazing time and really impressed the coaches and the parents with their enthusiasm and focus. One swimmer, our own Owen Johnson, caught Carl’s expert eye and was immediately given paperwork to submit to check his eligibility for classification. Hopefully, if eligible, Owen can go for classification in October.
All swimmers and parents had the opportunity to talk to Carl and the coaches and take away some sound advice and support for their child’s swimming going forward. Several parents were so impressed that they enquired about joining the club.
Feedback from parents included the following comments:
‘The trial was a fantastic opportunity for the para swimmers to meet for the first time and was a great opportunity to make some new friends. Owen was also able to consider … his ability to kick when swimming. Owen could relate to the other swimmers and thought about how they might experience challenges when they were swimming in the water.’
‘Finding out that the children have talents and potential, and what opportunities that opens up for them, and how to access it was good. It’s given Joe and me a lot to think about. I would never have known that it was the first time the session has been run, well organised and very professional.’
The club has secured funding to facilitate bridging sessions for those disabled swimmers who wish to join the club and may need additional support.
A massive thank you to Carl Cooper for this and all of his continued support.