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City of Bristol Aquatics Network update

Encouraging participation in all of the aquatics disciplines is a priority objective for City of Bristol (CoB) Aquatics Network, the ASA, Somerset ASA and Bristol City Council set as it is against the national context of a sharp reduction in the number of people who swim regularly. 

The COB Network has 5 Clubs - Bishopsworth, Bristol Central, Backwell, Bath Dolphin and Keynsham.

Improving participation in the key under-represented target group of athletes with a disability or other special needs is one of the Network's priorities. Its Development Plan considers in detail the likely reasons for under-representation, an action plan to redress the balance as well as critical success factors and performance milestones over a prescribed timeline.

CoB has formed a Disability Swimming Committee, which Dave Beament chairs, with representation from Wesport, SLM, Access Sport, Swift Inclusive Sport Trust, the ASA (Dave White) and COB.

Research has shown few opportunities existed and the lack of a clear pathway available in the Bristol and surrounding area for swimmers with a Disability.

Early success has seen the creation of a para-swimming squad and plans for a specialist learn to swim programme for disabled swimmers which have reached an advanced stage.
The COB Para Squad is now training once per week at Horfield pool coached by Louise Johnston, a qualified Coach. So far 6 swimmers are in the water, one of whom, Alex Edwards, 15, attended the European Downs Syndrome Competition in Italy recently winning 3 medals.

SLM already offer Learn To Swim for children with a Disability. The new Learn To Swim lessons will start at Kingswood Leisure Centre in the New Year for children with a Physical Disability.

CoB is researching the training needs of Club Coaches and has started to build a Swimmer Pathway from Learn To Swim to Para-swimming.

For more information on these positive steps and joining sessions visit:
CoB Network
Contact Dave Beament (davebeament@blueyonder.co.uk)
Contact Dave White (dave.white@swimming.org)

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