Swimming success story

Garry and Anthony build a new routine

Posted June 28, 2021

L R Garry Bjarnoe Elliott Anthony Chapple

It’s amazing what you can achieve when you set your mind to something. It was this determination and grit that saw participant, Anthony Chapple overcome obstacles to introduce swimming into his life. Anthony’s support worker, Garry Bjarnoe-Elliott was key to making it happen. Garry admits that it’s been a big process.

‘Swimming was an idea outside the usual circle of activities for Anthony,’ he said.

Knowing how beneficial time in the pool can be for both physical and mental health, Garry approached Anthony with the idea, and when Anthony agreed, the idea grew. What was the key to their success? Garry says what made it work was introducing swimming slowly and consistently.

At the moment, the pair visit the Launceston Leisure and Aquatic Centre every second Friday, with plans to visit weekly, soon.

‘We now have a routine when we come to the pool. We do 20 laps and then spend 15 minutes in the spa, to help Anthony relax his muscles.

‘Anthony loves routine, so it took us just over a year to get to this point. He’s persisted and it’s been awesome.

‘Some staff who worked with Anthony years ago have been amazed at seeing him at the pool – he has come a long way.

‘Swimming has added something new to Anthony’s routine, it’s given him something new to participate in and look forward to.’

Garry added that he believes anyone living with disability should consider spending time at the pool.

‘Movement in the pool can be so much easier. Anthony is a little more patient since we started coming to the pool. Time spent in the spa helps him relax.’

For Garry, the joy of being a support worker comes from having wins like this.

‘As a support worker, you can holistically enhance someone’s life,’ he said.

‘A focus of my role is to try and make every day better for the person I’m working with.

‘Making Anthony smile makes my day. My goal is to enhance his day and doing that feels great.’