It's all going swimmingly | Jenny Hudson #Paralympics
Words by Jenny Hudson
After being injured in October 2018 after falling off a horse, I was paralysed at T5 and became a wheelchair user. Before my accident I was very active and independent, and I was also newly married to my wonderful husband.
However, the BIG question for me, once I was out of rehab and back in the big wide world with all my able bodied friends, was how do I keep fit?
Swimming has always been part of my fitness routine especially as I got older. It provided great aerobic but low impact exercise that was sympathetic to a well-used body.
I swum while I was in rehab but finding a suitable pool near me was a problem – the local public pools were too cold, and the changing rooms were useless with limited accessibility for wheelchair users.
Luckily for me, my husband is a builder (I did well) so I came up with the idea of building an accessible pool that we would rent out to others to help cover the costs.
Swimming as a paraplegic is amazing you can almost forget your paralysed. There is no pressure on any part of your body, and you can work up quite a puff.
There is also no fear of falling and because of that you can push yourself more than perhaps you would on dry land. It does come with its own set of problems which need some thought.
Here are some examples of what I do as a disabled swimmer:
- Back stroke – this is an easy stroke for me to do. if I pull my arms hard through the water, I can concentrate on making my stomach muscles and my shoulders work. It is also easy to get the breathing right with this stroke
- Breaststroke – not so easy I have not worked out yet how to get my head out of the water to take a breath, so I swim the length of the pool (40ft) in two or three does but again pulling my arms hard through the water really works the torso
- Crawl – the morning of my accident I had swum 50 lengths of a 40ft pool then I went on my fateful ride. These days I am really working on my crawl, this stroke like it did before my accident is the stroke that makes me work the hardest. Being T 5 its surprisingly difficult to get my arms out and over my head but I am getting there and its really satisfying
And it doesn’t stop there, I have also tried water yoga, and volleyball (however caution -wear a buoyance aide)
I love being able to swim post-injury and encourage others to do the same and try swimming if it’s a sport they’re interested in. I have found a lot of enjoyment and pleasure from being in the pool and would recommend it to anyone.
You can find out more about Para Swimming at this years’ Paralympics here.
We spoke to Jenny back in 2020 and you can watch that video below