On Saturday 6th May 2017 36 visually impaired (VI) children from across the UK took part in the British Blind Sport National Youth Swimming Gala. The prestigious event took place in the West Midlands at Tudor Grange Leisure Centre, Solihull. Held successfully for over 20 years, this is the only VI specific youth swimming competition in the UK. The day was a huge success with blind and partially sighted children competing in individual backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle races, as well as a number of relay events for the opportunity to win their very own braille medal. For a number of children, it is the first time they have been able to swim competitively against other children with visual impairments.
In addition to the main competition, BBS welcomed a number of beginners to enjoy 1 to 1 and small group lessons delivered by qualified coaches with experience working with people with visual impairments. The fantastic day has received overwhelmingly positive feedback, only made possible with the support of a huge group of volunteers dedicating their time to deliver an afternoon of sporting excellence.
Chief Executive Alaina McGregor said, “The youth swimming gala is one of British Blind Sport’s flagship events that has been in our calendar for a number of years. Saturday’s event was one of the most successful we’ve staged as we welcomed 36 visually impaired kids from all over the country to take part in 41 races throughout the afternoon. It’s not all about the competition, the open and friendly nature of the day allowed the children and parents to make friends and have a thoroughly enjoyable and unforgettable day that often acts as a springboard to continue swimming competitively or as a hobby.”
Some of the feedback from parents and participants included:
“Thank you so much for organising today's gala, two tired but happy girls tonight both utterly thrilled with their first Braille medals”– Sharon, mother of a participant
“Today was cool! I would love more days like this.” – Participant, aged 8
“I loved taking part in different events with other swimmers” – Participant, aged 11
“It was a really good day! Worth driving from Scotland for it” – Parent of a participant
British Blind Sport would like to thank all participants, staff and volunteers who helped to deliver the day and look forward to welcoming you back next year.
British Blind Sport need volunteers to help at upcoming events. If you can spare some time to help the visually impaired and blind attendees enjoy the day fully, please get in touch. For further details please contact Jessica Skinner on 07929 356428 or email email@example.com.