Aberdeen’s multi-World Para Swimming medallist Toni Shaw has launched Scottish Swimming’s #SeeMyAbility campaign.
Toni, 16, who won six medals earlier this year in London and is tipped to star at the Tokyo Paralympics, taught kids from Mile End Primary School as part of an event at the Beach Leisure Centre yesterday.
The new campaign aims to encourage youngsters with physical, sensory and learning impairments to learn to swim, while supporting providers across Scotland to run inclusive programmes.
Learn-to-swim ambassador Toni – who first got in the pool alongside able-bodied children before joining Cults Otters and then the University of Aberdeen Performance Swim Team – said: “It’s really important everybody learns to swim together, it helps to learn to swim in the best way you can.
“I joined the normal learn-to-swim lessons. I really enjoyed them and didn’t struggle or anything.
“When they saw how much I loved to swim, they recommended I joined a club – it went from there.
“When I was younger I didn’t see any difference (between herself and the other swimmers). Now I’m older I see how lucky I was my parents put me in with everybody else.
“It’s great to know things have been put in place so everybody will learn the same way I did.
“It’s a great message to be able to share with everyone.”
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Paul Wilson, disability performance manager at Scottish Swimming, explained “the whole swimming learning pathway can be taught in an inclusive way”, by taking measures such as adapting sessions for those with disabilities.
As part of the initiative, Toni stars in promotional material which will be shared by Scottish Swimming on social media.
She added: “I’m not too much of a fan of the cameras but it was good. It was the first video like that I’ve done.”
Meanwhile, the Albyn School pupil is also celebrating being nominated for BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year, with the shortlist announced yesterday.
She said: “I actually only found out a few hours before (it was announced). I was very shocked.
“It’s pretty crazy to be in there with my roommate Maisie (Summers-Newton), who’s an amazing swimmer.”