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Catching up with Special Olympics volunteer and athlete Samuel

Samuel, a competitive swimmer and gentleman we support, has just returned from a jam-packed week of volunteering at the Special Olympics.

Samuel with his support worker, Paul

He will be competing at the next Special Olympics in four years time, so we took the opportunity to catch up with him at Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, to find out how he was getting on.

So Samuel, tell me about yourself – when did you first start swimming?

I’ve been swimming now for 20 years and competitively since I was 14. I competed for England in 2013 which was great, as it means I know a lot of people here – both those competing and volunteering.

Tell me about your training regime?

I train five days a week and swim with a local group called the Reading Signets Club. They allow anyone with a disability to come and enjoy swimming, for fun or competitively.

I will be competing for England in the next Special Olympics in Paris in four years time. I am nervous, but also really excited!

What have you been up to as a volunteer here?

I’ve mainly been helping the athletes – one of my tasks has been to give out stress balls, to help them stay calm before their races.

I also did a talk at The Holiday Inn where I am staying in front of lots of people. The talk was called Inclusion Unified and was about what we can all do to promote disability support, help disabled people into work and never give up on your dreams.

Other members of my swimming club often come to me for advice so it was great to do this to a bigger group of people.

Sounds like you’ve had an amazing week. What will you get up to once you’re home?

I will carry on training as usual and also get back to work – I have a full-time job as a kitchen assistant for a local restaurant so I am always very busy!