Water Babies, the baby and toddler swim school, has announced the winners of their ‘Little Heroes’ Awards, which aims to reward Ireland’s most inspiring young swimmers. Three of the winners are from our neck of the woods, Zoe Collery from Rathfarnham, Shoshanna Driver from Ballycullen and Aoife Fitzgerald from Tallaght.
In total 11 ‘Little Heroes’ were awarded, each one having battled illness and adversity including premature birth and Down Syndrome or have shown a lot of courage in their young lives so far. They all have stories of how water and swimming have helped with their development or improved their lives and the lives of their family in some way.
Zoe’s Story (2 years 1 month)
When Zoe was born she had a very difficult start, suffering a broken clavicle but that was the least of her parent’s concerns. She didn’t cry, had no heart beat and wasn’t breathing. After resuscitation, she was cooled to reduce brain damage and her parents were told that she might not make it and if she did she might never walk or talk. At six weeks old Zoe started with Water Babies and loved it!
Shoshanna’s Story (11 months)
Baby Shoshanna Driver’s love of swimming has helped her family regain their love of water. Swimming at Water Babies is her favourite activity and at 11months, she’s happy in both the pool or the bath. Shoshanna’s love of water has made ‘waves’ in the Driver family. Shoshanna’s Mum Marlene has always been nervous of the water however once they joined Water Babies Marlene took lessons and is now a confident swimmer and enjoys swimming regularly with Shoshanna.
Aoife’s Story (4 years)
Aoife started swimming with Water Babies when she was seven months old in Butterfield, Rathfarnham. When she was 2½ years old she started complaining of neck pain on a regular basis and over the coming months her pain increased and her joints started to swell, with some doubling in size. One of the few times during the week in which she was able to get some relief was during her weekly Water Babies lessons as the pool was warm enough to provide relief for her swollen joints. Six months after her initial pain, Aoife was diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, which was affecting over half of her joints. Little Aoife has to have regular injections, which can be very painful however throughout it all she has continued her swimming lessons with Water Babies.
Carol McNally from Water Babies said:
“We love hearing about all the spectacular swimmers out there and the inspiring tales they have to tell. The idea of the Little Heroes awards is to reward incredible accomplishments when it comes to water and to raise awareness of the importance of children learning to swim at as early an age as possible.”
Water Babies swimming classes provide significant benefits for babies and toddlers including increased resistance in the water which helps to build muscle tone. Swimming also helps to develop motor skills and physical fitness and water buoyancy helps to reduce body weight, easing pressure on different parts of the body — especially bones and joints.
Water Babies new term of classes start at the end of April. To find your nearest class, visit www.waterbabies.ie