Adapted swimming for paraplegics and quadriplegics

Big sparkling pools that greet you as you roll up….aching to get in, but can’t? These wheelers refuse to just sit there and admire. From throwing themselves in to using a cool new pool lift, here’s how to get in the pool and enjoy adapted swimming even if you can‘t walk!

I’ve never seen a C6 quad do what Vincent does when it comes to adapted swimming. At 48, he could show on a few paras a thing or two. In his video, produced by a production company from Google (his employer), Vincent shows off his sleek lap pool in his yard, and how he’s able to use it independently; with no lift!

He’s able to transfer himself to the ground, then he throws himself into the pool. Looks pretty crazy, but he has it all under control. The moment he lands in the pool, he swims right away so he doesn’t sink, and holy moly is this guy a great swimmer (even when going against the waves). C6 quad swimming is totally possible.

And elizabethk, one of our members, is a C6-7 quad and 2008 Paralympic swimmer who can swim like a fish. Check her out here (link) doing the backstroke at the Paralympics. She placed 5th and 7th in the world. Go girl!

Speaking of kick butt lady swimmers, make sure to check out Mia of the Push Girls, who has just gotten back into swimming (and it was all aired on TV!). She struggled pretty hard with not being able to use her legs when swimming (still is), but she isn’t letting it stop her. Watch her swim here

And if you can’t get into the pool independently and hate pool lifts with a fiery passion, you’ll LOVE this new pool lift created for the 2012 Paralympics called the Pool Pod. You roll right onto it (in a chair you don’t mind getting wet) and it stealthily lowers you into the water. Did I mention you can use this completely on your own? So awesome. This is a much more dignified way to get your pool on.

And wondering what do you do once you get IN the pool even if you can’t swim? Why you float like a rock star of course, just like these goofy quads, chilling in a friend’s pool. Floaties, life jackets, and more floaties. Oh man how did us SCIers ever go swimming without them?

You know…..it can be weird not feeling the water, and not being able to move like you used to, but the pool offers so many awesome ways to feel UN-paralyzed. I can guarantee all of those icky feelings will get trumped once you get in.

Do you swim regularly?? How do you get in the pool? How did you get interested in adapted swimming?

Watch the videos!

Vincent, a C6 quad, gets in/out of his lap pool (and swims!)

SPINALpedia member elizabethk swims the backstroke at the Beijing Paralympics

Mia of Push Girls goes adapted swimming

Pool Pod pool lift, direct from the UK

Quadriplegics in the pool for adapted swimming

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