A Plymouth boy who had to have his legs amputated as a toddler is about to take part in a mock swimming competition.
Kacper Siwinski loves nothing more than to be in the water, and his disability has never held him back from enjoying swimming.
Now, the determined nine-year-old will compete against other disabled class mates in Plymouth’s first ever mock swimming competition as a way of getting students prepared for the possibility of competing in the future Paralympics.
Kacper was born with his front shin bones and part of his knee joints missing, so his mum Justyna Iwanow made the hard decision to have his legs amputated above the knee.
“He feels very comfortable in the water – he swims without his prosthetics and has been having one to one sessions. He has very strong arms and before, he would get tired after about half an hour of swimming, but now he doesn’t want to get out of the pool after an hour and a half.”
Kacper is one of Soumaya Towers’ disabled students who she teaches at the Life Centre – he has been attending the fun sessions for around a year.
Soumaya, also known as Sam, is working with Swim England to encourage more children with disabilities to learn to swim, and hopes that some of her students will go on to compete and make it into the Paralympics.
Sam teaches 12 children who range in age from seven to 14 in her Thursday evening class and she thoroughly enjoys seeing her students go from strength to strength.
“Words cannot describe how rewarding it is to see the children achieve, said swimming instructor Sam.
“We teach children with cerebral palsy, children who have had amputations, those with learning difficulties and some of the children are wheelchair bound.
“It is beyond description to see their progress and watch them swim lengths and develop recognisable strokes.”
Sam, along with Swim England, is putting on a taster event on July 1 to try and encourage children with physical, sensual and intellectual disabilities to take up swimming.
They hope the session and competition will attract swimmers from all over the county and beyond – and for the Plymouth students, they’ll get their first chance to feel what it’s like to be competing in the sport.
“The taster event is to encourage the pupils to feel what a swimming competition is like, as alot of them have no experience of it,” added Sam.
Justyna praises the group and encourages any parent with a disabled child to enrol them in the classes.
“I have already told one of my friends with a disabled child to go to the classes, and she has – she has seen how brilliant it is and how friendly the group is. She was really scared about enrolling her daughter at first but now she’s going to continue it.”
For more information about the event on July 1, contact the Life Centre.