Active Life and AquaLife Wellness Center, sister companies headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico, hosted at their facilities two adaptive aquatic programs for individuals with physical challenges. In collaboration with OPAF and the First Clinics, First Swim™ and First Dive™ Intro to Scuba programs were offered to Active Life patients as well as community members with disabilities. Fourteen participants tried adaptive swimming and/or scuba during the four-hour event.
First Swim was led by three-time, Paralympic swim champion, Jason Wening, CPO, a bilateral, transtibial amputee, who won five gold medals in the Paralympic games in Atlanta, Georgia; Sydney, Australia; and Barcelona, Spain. Wening offered many practical suggestions and tips to the attendees, and then he and volunteers spent time working on specific needs of the individual swimmers.
Swimmers then transitioned over to snorkel and scuba with the help of the staff of New Mexico Scuba Center, Albuquerque. Owner Stacey Minton and her volunteers began with snorkels, masks, and fins for everyone, and then outfitted participants with scuba equipment and gave them the chance to experience breathing under water.
“It was great to see the participants have fun and smile and do things they have never done before,” Active Life practitioner, Deane Doty, CPO, said. “The kids were great to watch swim for the first time. The instructors were excellent and provided confidence; the staff of OPAF ran a great clinic.”