Jessica-Jane Applegate is special guest at 'inspiring' gala
PUBLISHED: 12:55 24 April 2019 | UPDATED: 13:35 24 April 2019
Paralympic swimming star Jessica-Jane Applegate was the special guest as disabled swimmers took part in an inspirational annual event.
The Suffolk County Amateur Swimming Association held the 17th annual Suffolk Swimability meeting at Waterlane Leisure Centre's swimming pool earlier this month.
With Lowestoft Lions sponsoring the medals and certificates, they also assisted with stewarding and recording at the gala as the event was open to any young swimmer with a disability – physical, sensory or learning .
It attracted swimmers of all ages from across the region – with 50 swimmers from nine different clubs competing.
These included swimmers from local clubs – Lowestoft and Oulton Broad; St Felix and Great Yarmouth and Waveney Special Olympians; as well as from swimming clubs across East Anglia including Special Olympics Norfolk; Leiston; Hadleigh; Ipswich; Stowmarket and Colchester,
The races were made up of swimmers with similar entry times, irrespective of their age or disability. This gave the swimmers the opportunity to gain fast times and to improve on their personal best achievements.
Guest of honour once more was British Paralympic swimmer Jessica-Jane Applegate MBE, who began swimming at a young age at Lowestoft and Oulton Broad Swimming Club.
Lowestoft Lions President Michael Cook presented every swimmer with a gold medal and an individual certificate.
He then awarded special trophies to Liam Chambers (Gt Yarmouth) as the best male, to Sarah Jones (Special Olympics Norfolk) as the best female swimmer and to Gracie Forster (Ipswich) as the swimmer showing the most effort and enthusiasm.
Organiser Mark Lanham said: “The Lions club members look forward to this event every year.
“Our thanks go to Ann Byrne and the committee, Sentinel Leisure Trust, Suffolk Sport, the swimmers, team managers, parents and guardians and all who once again made this event a great success.
“Lowestoft Lions have been supporting this event for several years and seeing these young swimmers trying their utmost was humbling, inspiring and rewarding.
“Over the years we have seen swimmers improving their times and growing in confidence.
“Their achievements act as an inspiration for the next generation of disability swimmers.”