How do blind and visually impaired people go swimming?

This is a great post about how visually impaired and blind people can go swimming. Since I love swimming and Sandy’s View is a fantastic blog I have to share this with my readers. Additionally, I want to write more in English in the future, but I’ll keep my blog bilingual, so there will still be posts in German.

Das ist ein toller Post über Schwimmen für blinde und sehbehinderte, den ich umbedingt teilen muss. Ich habe dort ein Kommentar hinterlassen, das fast schon ein Blogbeitrag zu meinen eigenen Schwimmerfahrungen ist. Außerdem will ich in Zukunft ohnehin auch auf Englisch schreiben. Es wird trotzdem weiter Beiträge in Deutsch geben.

Sandy's View

After many discuntitledussions with my high school swimming teacher (and mustering up some courage), I finally decided to take swimming class during my senior year. It wasn’t that I thought I couldn’t swim because of my disability, but rather I had the same fear the average person has of sinking and drowning!! Being the only blind student in the class, I was unsure about how exactly I would keep up with my classmates. Luckily, my swimming teacher was very accommodating, and made sure my fears didn’t become a reality! She worked one-on-one with me and physically taught me how to do each movement before letting me practice on my own.

Like our sighted counterparts, blind and visually impaired individuals swim for pleasure, recreation and competition. There are many simple adaptations that allow us to enjoy this wonderful activity!

Some people wonder how those of us who are blind or…

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One thought on “How do blind and visually impaired people go swimming?

  1. That’s the comment I left on Sandy’s View:

    Dear Sandy,

    I always enjoy reading your blog and since swimming is a topic I know something about, I thought I leave a comment.

    Swimming is my favourite sport, although I like tandem cycling and gym sessions too. I’m legally blind but still have some sight. My mum send me to a swimming class in kinder garden, but I only lost my fear of the water completely when I went for a summer holiday with my grandparents on the Mediterranean Sea. My granddad showed the movements to me and suddenly I knew how to do it. After a while he told me to turn around, because he couldn’t stand anymore and he wasn’t a good swimmer himself. That’s one of my favourite childhood memories.

    I love moving freely in the water, where I don’t have to worry about obstacles in my way. I use the black line in the middle of the pool and the bright lane markers. I don’t touch the markers, I just have to turn my head a bit more right and left than sighted swimmers to see them.

    As a teenager I used to compete in swimming competitions, but I never had a “tapper” in training sessions. It was a great time. I went to training camps, met interesting people and travelled around Germany, although I didn’t see much of the cities we went to.

    Now I go to the training sessions of the swimming team in college, but I don’t participate in the competitions, because I don’t have the time and I wouldn’t have a chance against most serious sighted swimmers. I tell the trainers straight away that I’m blind at the first session and most of them deal with the situation very well. In four years I had only one who kept putting up instructions on paper and left us to our own devices. That was frustrating, but I showed up every single week and asked the others what to do or did my own thing. However, I do better when someone stands at the edge of the pool to tell me what to do and to motivate me.

    I also love swimming in the sea. I find in and out of the water alright, but my problem is to find my towel again. I usually have to wonder up and down the beach, getting sunburned, until my friends or family spot me. Once I almost collided with a boat in the North Sea and my granny send the coast guards to rescue me. I think I would have had the strength to swim back to shore, but it would have been dangerous for a less experienced swimmer. It would be better to have someone I can follow, but most of my friends wouldn’t be able to swim one kilometre or more. The pool is definitely the safer option, but nothing compares to swimming in the sea. One of the things I want to do in life is to participate in a three kilometre swim in Galway bay along the Irish west coast.

    I look forward to reading your next posts
    all the best


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