Creating Transformative Ocean Experiences

Extraordinary open water swims by individuals of all ages and abilities touch us all the time. Their efforts are absolutely inspirational. These people are unbelievable role models of dedication, focus and commitment.

But rarely has a group of individuals who are supportive of open water swimmers touched us as much as the visionary people of the Bacharach Rehabilitation Hospital, City of Upper Township and the Ocean City Swim Club. Through their ground-breaking Ocean City Swim Club / Bacharach Rehabilitation Hospital Swimming and Paddling Unified Team Program, what is possible is being realized by the most unlikely demographic groups.

I have really been touched by how this program is taking on a life of it’s own,” explains Bruckner Chase, one of the program directors. “Ocean Swimming & Prone Paddleboarding for Athletes with Spinal Cord Injuries is creating transformative ocean experiences to positively impact the quality of life for those unwilling to accept being an observer. By helping those with spinal cord injuries learn how to move through the water and guiding open water prone paddleboarding and swimming sessions, disabled athletes are leaving their wheelchairs and physical limitations on the beach to explore opportunities on and in the water.

This is a perfect new addition to my goal of creating new watermen and waterwomen wherever I can find them. The City of Upper Township has been incredibly supportive supplying both EMT‘s to help us move participants into the water and a mat to cover the sand as they move into the water. Before we started this program, beach access mats were designed to get wheelchairs and the physically challenged ONTO the sand. No one seems to have ever considered that some of these individuals with spinal injuries might actually might want to keep going further [into the ocean].”

It is awesome to be on the water,” said Joannie Anastasi, a paddleboarder who has been paraplegic since birth.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association
Steven Munatones