Amputee Awareness week #5: Swimming

I didn’t really give access to pools too much thought, till after I lost my leg. Some places could make things a ton more easy for amputees than they do though.

I have to say: Splash Palace (pictured) is the best I have found so far.

I get in and out using the steps that are cut into the side of the pool. I do a tricep dip to sit down on poolside. To get out I put my foot on the highest step I can reach, kneel on the side with my left and pull myself to standing using the 2 hand rails. It’s quite easy.

But it isn’t if you have a set of graduated steps to use.. which involves you hopping either up or down them with one wet foot. 😱

Then we get to the changing rooms and layout. OMFGG. I have stopped using a pool in Dunedin because of this melodrama.

At my local pool everything is on one level. I was in a separate changing room door to get to the disabled changing from reception. The changing is located by poolside. So all I have to do is walk the length of this picture from far to near to get to poolside. I hoppety hop to the side from the tiered seating with crutches and leave them at the steps.

In my non friendly Dunedin pool I have to walk past the regular changing, through some doors, down a corridor and up a flight of steps to the far side of the pool. Then I have to locate a life guard to get the key to the changing rooms – which are even further away again. Then walk the full length of the pool building to get back to poolside. Needless to say I just don’t go there any more. CBA!

At my fave St Clair pool they have steps that are a cross between pool side steps and a flight of steps. Luckily the two hand rails are non slip and the lifeguard always comes to stand nearby in case I need them. (But don’t interfere unless I ask, which is ace!)

As for swimming: no, I don’t go round in circles, no I don’t roll over and over sideways! I don’t do breast stroke any more due to the knee replacement anyway. But for my freestyle my arms just do more work on behalf of my legs, my one remaining foot does a gentle kick to keep me buoyant and on a level. 😊😎

Author: Melanie Magowan

I am a massage therapist and part time athlete

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