Swimming is an excellent recreational physical activity and competitive sport for individuals who are vision impaired.
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Swimming is one of the general purpose forms of exercise which utilises the whole body during the activity. It is a valuable life skill which has many benefits and can facilitate the participation in many other water based activities.
A person can go swimming anywhere there is a safe body of water, whether it is at home or abroad, in a swimming pool, a river, a lake or in the sea. It is a family friendly activity which appeals to adults and children, to male and female, young or old people alike. It has been practiced by blind and visually impaired for many years.
For some there is the option to take part in competitive swimming, usually through a local club. Swimmers compete within three sight classifications as defined by IBSA. Swimming is governed by the International Paralympic Committee (www.ipc-swimming.org) which incorporates the rules of FINA.
In B1 competition, swimmers must wear darkened blackout goggles and are provided with a tactile ‘tap’ warning to the head or upper body as they approach the end of each lap of the pool. Allowances are made in the rules for blind swimmers who may swim too close to a lane line to execute technically correct arm strokes or touches in butterfly or breaststroke.
Competitive/skills training is scheduled to be held this autumn at the Markievicz Pool in Townsend Street (details from our office).Recreational swimming sessions take place weekly in Belvedere College, Dublin 1 run by National League of the Blind. Other regular sessions are organised for those interested in competitive swimming including sessions in Cork (see our sports contact details).
If you would like to take the plunge, as a swimmer or volunteer, please contact us.
Vision Sports Ireland,
1 Christchurch Hall,
Tel: 085 8500193