Celebrating Para Swimming


Since we just finished the Dino Cup swim meet and Splash School just about completed for the season, Medicine Hat Waves Swim Club has some amazing news to share with you about Para Swimming within our club.

Para Swimming classifies athletes according to how much an impairment affects their fundamental activities in swimming.  There are 14 different classifications: S1-S10 include physical impairments;  S11-S13 refer to visual impairments; S14 are intellectual impairments. The initial stage of development is Provincial, but National and International stages come into play as swimmers mature and develop.

The Medicine Hat Waves have 2 swimmers at Level 1 under Swim Alberta:

Isla Johnson is 8 years old and started swimming with The Waves when she was 5.  3 years later, she is competing and loving it just as much as the day she started! Isla instantly fell in love with the team environment and looks forward to practising twice a week. Isla has hemiplegic cerebral palsy because of a stroke she had during pregnancy. Because of this, Isla has both weakness and spasticity in the right side of her body which creates some challenges with gross and fine motor skills and coordination. We were nervous about how this would impact her in the pool, but Swim Alberta was quick to notify us about the ability for Isla to register as a Para Swimmer and the opportunities it would provide. The Waves quickly jumped on board and to date have attended three Swim Alberta Para Swim Camps with Isla to learn how to best support her in the pool and at swim meets. Isla has attended multiple swim meets, her favourite being the Dino Cup, where she sprints to the prize table to see if she won after each race! Isla is a Swiftie and loves to belt out every Taylor Swift song she knows. Outside of swimming, Isla loves to spend time with her friends, do anything involving art, and spend time outside. 

Emmett Barclay, who also has the same diagnosis as Isla but affects the left side of his body, swims with our Splash Swim School at the YMCA and recently just received his level 1 classification. He is 6 years old and this is his first year with The Waves. The club was quick to support Emmett on his swimming journey, knowing what adaptations will work for him to succeed.  Swimming is such a great extra curricular activity for Emmett and the strength that he has gained from swimming has been amazing. Right now, his favourite thing about swimming is playing "jump in if you like…". Emmett also loves to hang out with his brothers, play Nintendo, baseball and soccer, and LOVES pickles!

Recently, The Waves assisted Reegan Folkerts from the Brooks Barracudas, in swimming at the Invitation Provinciale Mustang Du Printemps Swim Meet in Montreal from March 23-24, as she needed to be registered with a winter club.  Reegan swam 50 Free, 100 Free, 50 Fly and 100 Back.  She made an A Qualifier Time in 100 Back, a time of 1:54.95, for the World Down Syndrome Swimming Championships!  Reegan is hoping to achieve a S14 para classification, and we will support her however we can!

Medicine Hat Waves commits to building participation and connections by creating an inclusive swimming community, where all swimmers feel welcome, have equal opportunities and are treated with respect.  We are so excited to support Isla, Emmett and all of our swimmers in our club.

If you have any questions, or are interested about Para Swimming please feel free to reach out to Coach Sean at [email protected]  or Coach Nicole at [email protected]



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