Our Community is for EVERYONE

March 22, 2021

This week we are celebrating the official launch of our new Diversity and Inclusion Policy by sharing the stories, experiences, and achievements of some of the teachers, swimmers, players, coaches, athletes and volunteers within our diverse aquatic community.

Finalised in November 2020, this policy provides a set of guiding principles that goes beyond what is required by law or regulation to promote equality and prevent discrimination.

Its aim is to provide a culture within our sport that is inclusive for all, everyone is given an equal opportunity and is empowered to participate, and everyone is treated with the same level of respect and importance.

American activist Verna Myers best described our intention when she said, “DIVERSITY is being asked to the party, INCLUSION is being asked to dance.” Let us dance together.

Through this policy, we formally acknowledge our responsibility to promote inclusion and have made a commitment to ensure that people of all backgrounds and abilities feel welcomed by us and identify as valued members of the Swim Ireland family.

Swimming is a life skill for everyone

Martin Kavanagh, Swim Ireland Tutor, said: “Swimming is a life skill for everyone. For children with a disability swimming can be so much more than a life skill - it can liberate a child with a disability and grant them a newfound independence for life.

An important part of this policy is to work closely with bodies such as CARA (national pan-disability sport organisation), providing a collaborative partnership and a platform to increase sport and physical activity opportunities for people with disabilities.

We also work to achieve the goals in this policy with Sporting Pride, the Jesuit Refugee Centre, Irish Transplant Games, Special Olympics, Irish Down Syndrome Sporting Organisation, Vision Sport Ireland, Deaf Sport Ireland, Paralympics Ireland, Local Authority Sports & Wellbeing Partnerships, Local Sports Partnerships and others.

In developing this policy, we consulted with a range of stakeholders including Swim Ireland Clubs, Sport Ireland, CARA, Paralympics Ireland, Sporting Pride, and the Irish Kidney Association, and we would like to sincerely thank them for their input and involvement in shaping this Policy.

If you would like to get involved and share your story with us and our Swim Ireland family, please get in touch with our Participation and Inclusion Officer, Deirdre Cullen via email at deirdrecullen@swimireland.ie.

Read the full Diversity and Inclusion Policy via the links below, including our 5 Principles and targets for 2020, 2021 and beyond.

Swim Ireland Diversity and Inclusion Policy PDF

Swim Ireland Diversity and Inclusion Policy WORD DOCUMENT

What can I do to promote Diversity and Inclusion in aquatics?

Firstly, please read the Swim Ireland Diversity and Inclusion Policy via the links above, to help your understand the 5 Principles and the targets we have set for Swim Ireland.

Secondly, follow us on social media to read and share the stories we share this week from our diverse and inclusive Swim Ireland family.

Swim Ireland Facebook

Swim Ireland Twitter

Swim Ireland Instagram

Thirdly, if you are a teacher or coach we have a series of Inclusion Virtual CPDs to help you make your services more inclusive.

Inclusion Virtual CPD Series

24-Mar Supporting Swimmers with Additional Needs - 18.00-19.00

26-Mar Supporting Swimmers with Additional Needs - 13.00-14.00

06-Apr An Introduction to Teaching Children with Intellectual Disabilities - 19.00-20.30

12-Apr An Introduction to Teaching Children with Physical and Sensory Disabilities - 19.00-20.30

Swim Ireland also has online, on demand CPD that you can complete in your own time. Here are the Online CPD presently on offer that can enhance your ability to help those with disabilities.

On Demand Online CPD

Visually-Impaired Friendly Swimming (3 CPD Points)

This online CPD consists of five modules including Understanding Visual Impairment and Accessible Swimming. Every swimmer with a visual impairment has the right to participate in the sport of their choice. This course will assist anyone who delivers swimming activities with support, ideas and guidance on how to include people with a visual impairment.

Deaf Friendly Swimming (3 CPD Points)

The course consists of eight modules including Understanding Deafness and Swimming and Technology. Making simple changes to the way a swimming lesson is taught such as using hand gestures or visual aids can ensure swimming teachers and coaches feel confident about including deaf children and young people in their activities.

Learn Sign Language for Swimmers

There is one final thing that everyone in the Swim Ireland family can do to improve inclusion, learn Irish sign language for swimmers.

In our community we have lots of talented, strong hearing-impaired swimmers, volunteers, teachers and coaches. They work hard to be part of this community by learning how to communicate with hearing people, but what if you could speak their language?

It is particularly important to commit to doing this in the age of the face mask, where hearing-impaired people no longer have lip-reading as an option in a lot of scenarios.

Learning Irish Sign Language Videos

Below you will find some of the most popular videos in our Irish Sign Language series, with the full playlist available on YouTube at Irish Sign Language.

10 Tips for Communicating with Deaf and Hard of Hearing People

Greetings and General Conversation for Swimmers in Irish Sign Language

Irish Sign Language Backstroke Pull Cycle

Irish Sign Language Breaststroke Pull Cycle

Irish Sign Language Weather Conditions

Irish Sign Language Open Water Words

Irish Sign Language Open Water Swimming Water Conditions