BENTON, Ark. – Summer is the perfect time to cool off with a trip to the pool and for a few Saline County kids, this year will be the first time they can take that dive.
Swimming Without Limits is the newest program to be offered by Benton Parks and Rec, and it’s opening the pool to a new group of swimmers.
The program is geared towards kids with intellectual disabilities and it helps kids not only learn the proper strokes and movements, but also water safety and social skills.
Swimmers from across Saline County took a dive Saturday to show off their skills. The meet was one of the first of the summer season; but for some in the pool, this was more than just a race.
For Sam, this was his first time in a lane next to kids his age, showing off his freestyle that he learned after four weeks of group classes.
“It’s incredible,” exclaimed mom Vonda Lowrance. “We were hoping he would learn some new skills with it, and he certainly has.”
Sam is one of the inaugural students in Swimming Without Limits, the new program showcasing its kids for the first time during Saturday’s meet.
UCA senior Megan Hill is the spirit behind the strokes. She saw a gap in Saline County in the form of a lack of programming for kids with disabilities.
So, she used her final year studying occupational therapy as a springboard to launch her capstone research project, Swimming Without Limits. Working with Benton Parks and Rec, she was able to get her idea off the ground.
Now, her kids are learning how to swim and are even competing side by side with the Benton Sharks summer swim program.
The city says they plan on continuing the program next year, and will look at adding more adaptive classes in the years to come. All current Parks and Rec offerings are also inclusive and open to all.