Brock Whiston Level Water World Autism Awareness Day swimming session

Aquatics GB and Level Water host World Autism Awareness Day swimming lessons

2 Apr 2024

Aquatics GB and Level Water have teamed up, with the support of Everyone Active, to deliver a free swimming taster session for children with autism or other SEN needs on World Autism Awareness Day.

As part of the Speedo Aquatics GB Swimming Championships, and following a thrilling first heats session of the meet, a group of children aged between five and 16 took part in a one-to-one swimming lesson, as well as being able to spend swim time with their families as an opportunity to feel the benefit of being in the water and beginning their learn to swim journey at this iconic venue.

Four-time Para Swimming World Championship gold medallist Brock Whiston – an S8 athlete competing across five events at this week’s Aquatics GB Swimming Championships – took part in the session to spend time with the children and talk about why she feels swimming can play such an important part in people’s lives, as well as the value of having the Paralympic and Olympic selection events fully integrated here.

“To have Level Water here for this session, to show parents that there is a pathway for their children if they've got an additional need, it's nice for them to know that there is an outcome for them and they can achieve whatever they set their mind to. I've worked a lot with para-swimmers teaching swim lessons, so I can't wait to see where the sport goes,” she said.

“For me, to have able-bodied and para athletes together at this meet, it really opens the aquatic sports up for every discipline to see that para athletes are competitive, we are very strong.

“It’s nice for parents of able-bodied swimmers, they may never have seen para athletes race before, so it's just great to be equal, have the same opportunities and have such a big crowd behind both of us leading into Paris, both Olympic and Paralympic sport.”

This collaborative session acts as a catalyst for the London Aquatics Centre to become an all-SEND site, offering children with special educational needs and disabilities the chance to feel the benefits of a love of water, with eight Everyone Active swimming teachers being upskilled during these Championships to be able to deliver one-to-one Level Water swimming lessons.

Matthew Maguire, Head of Programmes for Level Water, said: “By delivering training for swimming teachers to build confidence and knowledge, and introducing children and their families to the amazing facilities and teachers provided by Everyone Active, we hope to break down many of the barriers young people with autism face when learning to swim, helping start a lifelong love of swimming and water, and all the joy that brings.”

Brock Whiston Level Water World Autism Awareness Day swimming lessons

Ian Cotton, Group Aquatic & Activity Manager for Everyone Active, operators of the London Aquatics Centre, added: “Everyone Active are delighted to support the autism session as part of the activity during the Aquatics GB Swimming Championships.  We will be introducing both Family Quiet Swims and Adult Quiet Swims at the London Aquatics Centre which are generally quieter and so may be more suitable for those living with dementia, neurodivergence and/or other long-term health conditions.  Everyone Active will also be installing a lighting system to the training pool which will enable us to support sensory sessions as well.”

On Thursday 4th April, children aged 5-16 years with a physical disability, visual impairment or hearing impairment will also have the opportunity to take part in a free para-swimming taster session during the Championships, as part of a full week of opportunities and community sessions taking place to ensure the Speedo Aquatics GB Championships are impactful far beyond the elite performances in the competition pool.

Martin Lees, Swim England Para-Swimming Development Manager, said: “We hope that the taster sessions planned during the Championships provide inspiration that one day they could be taking part in a Championships in the future. Participants will be signposted to an appropriate opportunity for them to continue their swimming journey, including Start Para-Swimming which is an initiative is targeted at young people with eligible impairments to get into the pool, become classified and be competitive swimmers.”

The Aquatics GB Swimming Championships take place at the London Aquatic Centre 2nd – 7th April

For more information on Level Water visit

For more information on start para-swimming visit:

For more information on the Everyone Active pool programme at the London Aquatics Centre visit: