Parent Survival Guide: Swim camp for kids with disabilities

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - It’s called “Swimming with the Sharks,” a three day swim camp giving kids with physical, mental, and intellectual challenges the ability to be comfortable in the water and learn how to swim at their own pace like campers Gianna and her sister Taylor.

“It gives me the confidence to do the different techniques, to get over limits, push myself to know I can do this and eventually be where I want to be and being able to swim and do the different strokes,” Taylor said.

This is the third year that the Newington pool in Summerville is putting on the free camp.

Assistant swim coach Ethan Brown says “Swimming with the Sharks” was inspired by Swampfest, a field day event at Ashley Ridge High school held every year paring students with kids of all ages and disabilities.

Students for the swim camp range in age from 9 to 30.

“We like to have fun on our swim team, so we incorporate that into the swim camp," Taylor said. “Camp is supposed to have fun, so we love to have fun here too.”

Gianna and Taylor’s father Anthony Casale says the swim classes are doing more than just building his girls confidence.

“Swimming together helps them push each other and make each other do better. They are rooting for each other,”says Casale.

During the hour long classes participants are paired with a private instructor helping and teaching them along the way.

“I have learned how to do a flip turn, breathing, butterfly and breaststroke. Something I have never done,” says Alyssa Bacher.

“We focus on the swim ability rather than the disability, and so that’s what we do here,” says Brown.

For Gianna, the class has helped her get over her fear of jumping off the diving board.

“I was doing cannon balls and jumping off and having a lot of fun in the deep end. Now I have done it three times because I’m having so much fun,” says Gianna.

Brown says space for the swim camp is limited and is free.

For more information on the next “Swimming with the Sharks” event and how to register call (843) 532-5159.

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