Felpham pensioner wants to inspire others after conquering swimming fear

Felpham resident Patsy Foster has taken on a swimming challenge SUS-191113-134324001
Felpham resident Patsy Foster has taken on a swimming challenge SUS-191113-134324001

After being in a swimming accident at the age of 17, Felpham resident Patsy Foster was left ‘petrified of water’ for most of her life.

In April, Patsy decided to conquer her fears and learn to swim before her 76th birthday — giving her four months.

She said: “I started on an April morning within a group, and our teachers, Sue and Mo [at Arun Leisure Centre].

“Both Sue and Mo made us feel so welcome and had great patience with all of us. Within two weeks I was able to put my face under water, and within a short time I was swimming.

“Each week I get more confident and try something new.”

Patsy is now keen to encourage others in Arun to get swimming too as, according to Swim England, one in three adults do not know how to swim.

“Swimming is now a very enjoyable experience and I go swimming every week with a friend in the public pool,” she said.

“I would encourage anyone, no matter what age, to give it a try because anyone really can learn to swim.

“And not only is it good exercise, but you meet all kinds of lovely friendly people.”

Arun Leisure Centre, operated by Freedom Leisure on behalf of Arun District Council, is working in partnership with Swim England to deliver a ‘comprehensive swimming programme’ which encourages both adults and children to learn to swim or improve their existing swimming skills.

Carolynn Quinlan, Freedom Leisure swim co-ordinator at Arun Leisure Centre says: “From the nervous Patsy who turned up on her first lesson to the Patsy we see today; who now swims regular with friends, is an amazing transformation, and we are so proud to have been able to help her conquer her fears.”

A spokesperson for the leisure centre said the adult swimming programme provides support and instruction for all abilities and ages, and you can work at your own pace supported by fully qualified instructors, either in a group or one-to-one session, with all lessons are tailored to the individual’s goals.

Graham Gardiner Freedom Leisure’s regional aquatic development manager said: “Having swimming skills is more than just a life-saving skill and great for exercising, but it also opens up many opportunities to participate safely in aquatics activities, such as: water exercise classes, sailing, paddle boarding, kayaking, open water swimming or diving to name a few –or just being to get off the beach on holiday and enjoy the sea.”

As Patsy has shown, it’s never too late to start your swimming journey whether you are learning to swim for the first time or looking to improve your technique and skills.

For more information on swimming lessons at Arun Leisure Centre visit www.freedom-leisure.co.uk/arun or call 01243 826 612

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