Patty’s daughter Lauren, 18, has cerebral palsy and has been doing “synchro” since she was 10. Her duet partner – Nicole Flynn, 16, has Down syndrome, and the pair compete in Ontario and nationally (see photo).
The sport has had numerous benefits for Lauren “and I would like to get the word out to other families so they’re aware this opportunity exists,” Patty says.
Synchro Canada says clubs across the country have programs for athletes with disabilities – many integrated into regular programs. Our next issue of BLOOM will include a role model column with Lauren and Nicole. Here’s what Patty has to say:
“Synchro has given Lauren a sport that she’s been able to excel at, the opportunity to swim with peers, confidence to swim in front of an audience and most importantly, she sees the rewards of doing therapy.
Before the girls head into the water, they do land drill, which includes stretching and strength-building. It’s the same in essence as what Lauren would do in therapy, but it isn’t labeled “therapy.” All of the able-bodied athletes do it with them, so they aren’t singled out as a result of their disability.
Every synchro club is encouraged to include swimmers with physical and cognitive disabilities. In the water, disabilities are not as pronounced. The coaches work with each child to maximize their ability.
(note: Synchro Canada’s Aquasquirt program is open to boys and girls)