Special needs swimmers take on national gala

L-R Michael Milner, Matthew Gibson, Nikki McDermott and Laura Fearn with front, Hannah Carbert.
L-R Michael Milner, Matthew Gibson, Nikki McDermott and Laura Fearn with front, Hannah Carbert.
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YOUNG swimmers made a splash at a national gala.

Four members of Sunderland Gateway Sport, which is part of Mencap, travelled down to Reading to join other swimmers with special needs taking part in the annual Learning Disability Open Swimming Gala.

Laura Fearn, Nikki McDermott, Matthew Gibson and Michael Milner, who were joined by Hannah Carbet from Middlesbrough Swimming Club for the event, brought home a number of medals and some personal best times.

Michael, 14, from Chester-le-Street, won gold in the 25-metre backstroke and Nikki, 20, who lives in Sunderland, took silver in the 25-metre freestyle and 25-metre backstroke and bronze in the 50-metre freestyle. Laura, 18, who is also from Sunderland, won silver for 200-metre freestyle.

Matthew, 14, from Chester-le-Street, won bronze medals in the 100-metre breaststroke and 100-metre freestyle and Hannah won bronze for the 50-metre back stroke.

Debbie Gibson, disability administrator with Sunderland Gateway Sport, said everyone was delighted with the performances of the young people and thrilled with the medals they won.

She said: “They were up against some strong competition. It is always lovely to see the young people succeeding.”

Sunderland Gateway Sport is a charity group which gives people aged five to 25 from Sunderland and County Durham, who have a range of learning disabilities, the chance to take part in activities, making friends and joining clubs.

The group offers a range of sports, held at various venues across Sunderland and County Durham, including swimming, football, boccia, table cricket, table tennis, unihoc, dodgeball, crab football, karate, judo and 10-pin bowling.

It also organises residential trips to adventure centres for horse riding, snow sports and water sports and has a host of events planned for the summer holidays.

Although aimed at young people with special needs, the group is non-exclusive and offers a lot of events for siblings of members.

Anyone interested in finding out more about what Sunderland Gateway Sport has to offer should contact Debbie on 388 3401.

Twitter: @sunechoschools