Swimming takes the spotlight

Events for elite athletes with a disability were introduced at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, and the number of events has been steadily growing ever since. Athletes with a disability competing at Commonwealth Games are fully integrated in their national teams and any medals they win are counted in their country’s medal tally.

The 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games featured competition for athletes with disabilities in lawn bowls, athletics, swimming, cycling and weightlifting (powerlifting). However, athletes with an intellectual disability only took part in swimming, with AUSRAPID set to lobby hard for increased events in the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

This year, we saw three Australian swimmers with an intellectual disability compete in Glasgow; Joshua Alford, Mitchell Kilduff and Daniel Fox.  These athletes are members of Swimming Australia, and are supported by and registered with AUSRAPID. It is fitting that Swimming Australia, one of the National Sport Inclusion Alliance’s (NSIA) first official members, is the sport where a genuine commitment to inclusion shines on this international stage.

On the 26th July our three Aussie swimmers took to the pool, competing in the men’s 200m Freestyle S14 event, with the Heats taking place in the morning and the Final in the evening. Here are the results:

Heat:                        5th. Time 2:03.99
Final:                       6th. Time 2:03.43

Heat:                        2nd. Time 2:01.17
Final:                       4th. Time 2:01.37

Heat:                        1st. Time 1:57.16 WR
Final:                       1st. Time 1:57.89

All three swimmers did incredibly well, in particular Daniel who broke the 200m freestyle S14 World Record in the Heat and went on to win in the Final. What a fantastic achievement for the 22 year old, to bring home a gold medal and beat a World Record, albeit in the Heat and not in the Final. Daniel, who lives in Cleveland south of Brisbane, spoke of his performances, saying “I’m a little bit disappointed but still happy. I’m still No.1, still breaking records and everything couldn’t be any happier.” (Quote taken from Redland City Bulletin, newspaper article published on Wednesday, July 30, 2014.)