Golds at world games for Tom

DOWNS Syndrome swimmer Tom Cole has battled against all the odds to gain medals for Great Britain on the world stage.A member of the Downs Syndrome Great Britain Swim Team, Cole began his swimming career with the West Suffolk Swim Scheme programme at Haverhill Leisure Centre.

DOWNS Syndrome swimmer Tom Cole has battled against all the odds to gain medals for Great Britain on the world stage.

A member of the Downs Syndrome Great Britain Swim Team, Cole began his swimming career with the West Suffolk Swim Scheme programme at Haverhill Leisure Centre.

Overcoming many hurdles, Cole achieve has achieved a number of Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) certificates and was named West Suffolk Swim Scheme's 'Swimmer of the Term' in April 2000, which led to him being awarded the Amateur Swimming Association Special Achievement Award at their Gala Dinner held in Birmingham.

At this special event, Cole met and swam with a number of Olympic swimmers including Commonwealth Games gold medallist Adam Ruckwood.


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The West Suffolk Swim Scheme continued to help Tom in his development as he started one-to-one lessons with Pat Jason, an ASA club coach. Pat's patience and experience soon helped and in December 2005 Cole received his ASA Competitive Start award.

Returning to Haverhill Leisure Centre and the West Suffolk Swim Scheme then gave Cole an opportunity to join the West Suffolk Swimming Club. Currently, he trains three mornings a week from six to 7.30am with the club and continues to have lessons with Pat Jason in the Swim Scheme.

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At the 2006 Downs Worlds Championships in Ireland, Cole won two gold medals, two silver medals and a bronze. When Adam Ruckwood heard this news he sent Cole a signed GB team Sydney Olympics t-shirt and said: "Tom and all those involved with his swimming should be very proud indeed. Such achievements are testimony to the hours of hard work that Tom has dedicated to his sport. He is truly a remarkable individual."

The West Suffolk Swim Scheme has been an enormous success this term with over 2000 swimmers attending the lessons at Bury St. Edmunds and Haverhill Leisure Centres.

The scheme offers a comprehensive programme for all ages and abilities based around the Amateur Swimming Association's National Teaching Plan and their Long Term Athletic Development Plan. It also includes opportuni-ties for everyone to enjoy swimming as a life-skill, encompassing health, fitness, stamina and safety.

General enrolment for the 2007 West Suffolk Swim Scheme takes place from 10am on December 18 at the two leisure centres.

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