With the right equipment and a few accommodations, swimming can be enjoyed by people with disabilities. People with disabilities need to find a coach trained in teaching disabled people how to swim. One-on-one instruction is vital in teaching swimming to people with disabilities because instructors need to manipulate a swimmer’s limbs, guide a swimmer in the pool, and properly use equipment to help a swimmer move in the water. Some facilities have classes with one coach and volunteers are the able-bodied partners that help disabled swimmers feel comfortable and safe in the water.

In addition to the right swim0 coach, people with disabilities must find a facility that is safe, clean, and accessible. The showers and changing rooms must be large, have rails and allow people to use the amenities easily. The water temperature should be warm to prevent muscle spasms. Pools should have ways for disabled swimmers to enter and exit the water without difficulty like ramps, specialized stair systems and lifts.

The modifications and equipment needed depend on the disabilities the person has. Floatation devices such as rings and inflatable body suits provide stability. Many with disabilities need help keeping their heads and upper bodies above water. Floatation devices also reduce fatigue so the swimmer can spend more time in the water. Rubber prosthetics help amputees do swim strokes. For those who need assistance with controlling their limbs, belts and buckles tie the legs together and are designed to float.

For blind swimmers, in addition to floatation devices, a pole helps find the vertical and horizontal spaces in the pool. A pole held while swimming signals the presence of the wall and lets the swimmer know how deep the pool is before diving in. Guides can swim beside blind swimmers, tapping when the wall approaches. Some swimmers learn to count strokes to know where the sides of the pools are. Loud signals over speakers, whistles,and bells can also let blind swimmers know when to turn. Working out a signaling system takes time, but if the blind swimmer works with the same people repeatedly, then the system is quickly learned. Those with impaired vision can benefit from prescription goggles and brightly colored lines along the bottom and sides of the pool.

Many people with disabilities enjoy swimming because of the buoyant nature of water; the water allows them to enjoy a regular activity since the degree of their disability is lessened. Swimmers with disabilities benefit from swimming as much as abled-bodied people do. Swimming exercises muscles and eases aches and pains. With the right equipment, modifications, and environment, swimming for the disabled can be enjoyable.