Whiston and vlogger Harvey swim lengths to encourage disabled youngsters to swim
PUBLISHED: 12:34 23 October 2019 | UPDATED: 08:15 24 October 2019
World record breaking Para swimmer Brock Whiston swam lengths with vlogger Isaac Harvey to promote people with disabilities learning to swim last week.
Collier Row-based Whiston, who won four gold medals and set three world records at the recent Championships in London, helped teach Harvey to swim at Becontree Leisure Centre in Dagenham.
The pair went into the water alongside Nikki Fairbairn, who is starting an eight-week swimming programme alongside charity Barking and Dagenham Progress Project, to encourage young people aged eight to 25 years with disabilities to give swimming a try.
"For me it's especially important as growing up I didn't know anything about my disability, and then discovered it at a late age," said Whiston.
"To be able to show children and adults that anything is possible, and who says you can't.
"Isaac is proof that anything is possible."
Harvey, of Ilford, has limb/pelvic hypoplasia syndrome, which means he has no arms, a weak pelvis and does most things with his feet.
But he has tackled a number of activities over the years, including abseiling, skiing and racing around Olympic tracks.
"It was a huge honour for Brock to be training me, especially since she's a world-record holder, it was a huge privilege," Harvey said.
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"It's very important for anyone to get into the pool because there is proof that it is possible.
"It's mind over matter, anything is possible, especially swimming, abseiling and film-making."
Whiston herself says it was a good experience to work with Harvey ahead of the programme where she will be one of the coaches.
"Working with another disabled person is very eye-opening," she added.
"I don't class myself as disabled because I still have all four limbs, I just do things differently.
"To learn about other disabilities and how other people use equipment in the water, Isaac had a very different piece of equipment that I'd never seen, a swim collar.
"To be able to integrate that and show people just because you can't hold equipment there are things out there you can use.
She added: "I want to inspire others, not only to get to a high level of sport as that takes a lot of work and commitment, but to let people know that they can do things. Swimming is an option and an avenue they can go down."
The programme is set to start on Monday, October 28 at Becontree.