Northern Ireland recently hosted a collaboration between Swim Ulster and the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), where visually impaired individuals experienced the joys of open water swimming in a safe and empowering environment.
RNIB joined forces with Swim Ulster to make a significant splash with their groundbreaking event, aimed at providing inexperienced blind and partially sighted people the opportunity to safely swim in open water and educating them on open water safety.
The response from the visually impaired community has been incredibly positive after the event. Úna Mulgrew from RNIB summed it up. “The response to the day was amazing from the blind and partially sighted community who loved it; knowing we had well trained, knowledgeable and passionate professionals at our sides every step of the way, made it all the more comfortable and fun.”
With the picturesque Portrush as the backdrop, participants arrived with enthusiasm and a bit of curiosity. One such participant shared their experience, “I had such a great day in Portrush. I went with the intentions of just putting my feet in the sea for a little paddle and then I was borrowing a swimsuit and wetsuit, and I was off to the sea.”
Safety was of paramount importance throughout the event. Swim Ulster staff provided a comprehensive safety talk that instilled confidence in the participants. The sense of security was palpable as Ricky, one of the instructors, stayed close at hand in the sea, making sure everyone felt safe and supported. Our participant couldn’t have agreed more, “Ricky stayed very close to me at all times in the sea which made me feel very safe. It was very relaxing, and I enjoyed it very much.”
The open water swimming sessions were not just about having fun; they are an integral part of the “Get Wet, Stay Safe campaign.” This campaign, run by Sport NI, Swim Ulster and Swim Ireland, aims to educate people on water safety. Participants received essential safety information from trained instructors on land before dipping their toes into the sea (or lake, or river!) for an hour of practice.
The success of this event shines a light on the remarkable achievements that can be accomplished when passion, inclusivity, and expertise merge. Our enthusiastic participant stated, “Thank you to Swim Ulster for making it possible for me to swim in our Northern Ireland waters for the first time. I would recommend this to many others and hope that we might get the opportunity to do it again.”
Stay tuned with GetWetNI.com, your trusted companion for all things water sports and safety. Until then, keep getting wet and staying safe!