Contributed by Crystie McGrail GBM & NE LMSC Coaches Chair
QUINCY, MA -- Five coaches trekked to the Quincy YMCA to observe an Adaptive Sports New England Para swim workout on Sunday, March 25th. Para athletes have a disability (mobility, visual, or cognitive impairment) that can create additional intricacies for coaches crafting an effective swim workout Laura Dennison, NE LMSC's Para Athlete Chair and member of Charles River Masters, spearheaded this observation initiative.
Some of the guidance to help coaches integrate para swimmers into Masters workouts includes:
1) Communication is key to building a strong athlete-coach understanding of possibilities and effective adaptations for inclusion.
2) Patience is important to learning how differently-abled bodies can move through the water effectively.
3) Creating the space for a para athlete to be included in your workouts is essential.
4) Focus on time, not distance, to help keep multi-ability lanes in sync.
5) Focus on what will create forward propulsion for the para swimmer, and release the goal of an "ideal" stroke technique.
For additional para swimming resources, see the USA Paralympics website.