Bringing Challenged Athletes To The Open Water

Bringing Challenged Athletes To The Open Water

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Of all the events, clinics, camps, seminars, motivational speeches, solo swims and relays that we have observed over the decades around the world, the Ocean City Swim Club and Bacharach Rehabilitation Hospital Swimming and Paddling Unified Team Program stands out and is unforgettable.

Becky McGill, Bruckner Chase and Michelle Evans-Chase are the principals behind the ocean swimming and prone paddleboarding program for athletes with spinal cord injuries.

They work passionately in collaboration with the Bacharach Rehabilitation Hospital and the City of Upper Township in New Jersey.

These dedicated individuals help individuals with spinal cord injuries learn how to move through the water and guide innovative open water prone paddleboarding and swimming sessions that tremendously benefits those limited to normal movement on land.

Now it seems the Ocean City Swim Club and Bacharach Rehabilitation Hospital Swimming and Paddling Unified Team Program is expanding to Europe and Oceania.

The Chase husband-and-wife team has been in Denmark where they and their like-minded colleagues are planning to launch a similar prone paddling program for spinal athletes in Denmark and Australia.

I have been hitting the water with Jacob Nielson, President of the Copenhagen Surf Lifesaving Club as well as Simon Brucz who oversees the federation for rafting, kayaking, SUP and prone paddling in Denmark. It is exciting to be exploring ways to work together for these all kinds of able-bodies and disabled athletes. Our program for challenged athletes is at the top of our list,” explains Bruckner Chase. “We also had a great meeting with Erik Bech who heads up the Surf Lifesaving Federation and Swimming Federation. We are inspired by what they are doing in Denmark to protect every member of the community in very diverse open water venues.”

The plan is for an exchange program to kick-off in New Jersey in early spring, with further exchanges later in the summer.

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