Swimming and Dancing with Adrienne

This week, I am very pleased to introduce you to Adrienne, whom I met at a WeSwim session a few weeks back. We had an amazing time in the pool as she challenged herself to get back into swimming and practiced her breathing and arm techniques. We also had lots of fun chatting, and this is how I found out she did many other activities, including dancing, so I wanted to find out more. Read on the blog she’s written for us and be mesmerised by her enthusiasm!

Hi, my name is Adrienne. I have Multiple Sclerosis and had a massive relapse in March 2008 which put me in hospital for three weeks, followed by seven weeks in a Neurological Rehabilitation Unit. I now use two crutches or a wheelchair to get around and I have an adapted car so I don’t need to use my feet to drive.

My Experience with Swimming

Two years ago, if someone had asked me to swim with my face in the water, they might as well have asked me to jump off a cliff. I used to try so hard to hold my head up to stop water splashing in my face that I actually pulled a muscle in my neck – twice! – and had to stop swimming lessons altogether. When my local council offered free swimming lessons, I decided to give it a final go. My instructor was a lovely American lady called Noon. She was very patient and encouraging: that’s how I eventually overcame my fear. 

In March 2020, a friend of mine told me about a swimming club for people with disabilities. I knew the swimming lessons I had been doing at my local sports centre were coming to an end soon so I decided to sign up to encourage myself to continue swimming.

Starting Other Activities

Unfortunately, as we know, before I could start swimming again, the whole world shut down. No more swimming, no more pilates, no more dance classes, but also no stem cell treatment in Mexico either. My world completely stopped!

After a month or so, online classes started springing up. I’m glad to say most of the classes I took part in are still running so I’m kept very busy. I now do karate, tai chi, yoga, cardio fitness, and two dance classes every week – all in my wheelchair! In fact, last week, I attended the screening of a movie made for Westminster’s annual dance competition. Dance Westminster celebrates people with a disability and encourages them to get involved in dance. The ten finalists and their friends and families were invited to Odeon Leicester Square to watch the movie made about our experiences in the competition and showcasing our final routines. You can watch it in the video below (my part starts at 4’25 and it lasts for about 4 minutes):

Unfortunately, I didn’t win but it was a great experience and I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.

I have also started swimming again: I’ve had two sessions with WeSwim now and can feel my confidence in the pool growing each time. Thank you WeSwim 💓

Thank you, Adrienne, for sharing your story and we look forward to seeing you at the pool or on stage for another dance.

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