SWIMMERS are gearing up for this year’s Special Olympics Sunderland Swimming Gala.
The annual event, now in its fifth year, will see about 100 athletes with learning difficulties take to the Raich Carter Centre pool.
Special Olympics Sunderland secretary Kath Rooney said: “It’s going to be a big thing, everything is ticking along nicely.”
The charity organisation, which is run by volunteers, allows the youngsters to take part in sport and meet new people.
“One of the biggest drawbacks is that they can’t socialise,” said Kath.
“Special Olympics gives our people the opportunity to get into sport and allow them to exercise. The social aspect means they can get out rather than being at home in front of a screen. It also gives parents an opportunity to meet with others.”
The event comes after the success of the Paralympic Games in London last year. “What the Paralympics did was opened the public’s eyes to disability,” said Kath. “It really has changed people’s perceptions.”
The gala, which starts at 9.30am on Sunday, March 17, is open to the public.