Late starter

Thanks’ very much to Kevin Clancy for writing this lovely article on taking up swimming during his later years. Kevin has been attending LeisureWorld Bishopstown and swimming twice a week for a number of years and we are very thankful for his kind words about his experience with us. It’s very encouraging to hear his story and the positive affects swimming is has had and continues to have on his physical and mental health.

Late starter

“You’re never too old to learn!”

My grandfather’s reply, when my mother praised the old man’s enthusiasm, as he cycled off, fishing – rod strapped to the crossbar. He couldn’t wait to try out the shiny new lures, a gift for his seventy something birthday. So long ago, to my child mind, the old man so ancient! Today, at a similar age, it’s me who is setting out on wheels for the water. In my case, not to fish, but following my late vocation to swimming.

The latter years of my sixties, were marked by a catalogue of health issues. After a protracted hospitalization, I returned to my family in a wheelchair, the outcome of a bi-femoral, above the knee amputation. As I begun to recover, my very limited exercise options were becoming more apparent. The therapeutic effects of swimming in healing body trauma were mentioned by a number of professionals.  I had a real block about swimming, not without good reason, having had a near drowning experience as a young child. However, with the great encouragement of my wife Helen, I reluctantly agreed to give swimming a try. MS Ireland’s Cork branch I discovered, operated weekly swimming sessions, which I was welcome to join.  When the MS classes came to an end. I began looking around for another venue. LeisureWorld Bishopstown came highly recommended as having a good track record in catering for people with various needs.

I’ve been coming here twice weekly for several years. From the outset I could see that every effort was being made to take on board my stated needs. Every effort is made to have a lane roped off for my hour. From time to time, I’ve made suggestions to management re the Disability Changing/Shower room which have been taken on board. I measure the excellence in service delivery at Leisure World, not only by these practical initiatives, but also by the welcoming attitude of the staff, whom I find personable, respectful and always willing to help. My visits here have undoubtedly contributed positively to my mental health.

The level of my disability makes it mandatory that I always have a helper with me in the pool. John Murphy a friend of mine, offered to accompany me. My growing confidence as a swimmer is due in no small measure to his ongoing encouragement and mentoring.

Thinking of taking up swimming, even in your seventies?

Go for it! I say

By Kevin Clancy