Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

LAPPING IT UP Andrew Overcomes Fear to Notch Up Laps

Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

LAPPING IT UP Andrew Overcomes Fear to Notch Up Laps

Article excerpt

Erin Smith


TWELVE months ago swimming one lap of a 25m pool was not something Andrew Mauch had ever considered possible.

Andrew, now 36, was born with spina bifida - a birth defect caused when the bones of the spine do not form properly around part of the spinal cord.

Water, especially deep water, was something that had always terrified Mr Mauch.

"I was worried that I would never come back up- that I would drown."

A year ago, after a gentle push from his family, Mr Mauch took to the pool at WIRAC for the first time in his life.

"I spend a bit of time in boats and deep sea fishing so my family wanted me to be able to swim if I ever fell out," Mr Mauch said.

"Confidence was the hardest part of it. But I gave it a go and it proves that it is never too late to learn."

Andrew has been hitting the pool at WIRAC on a Monday and Wednesday, with WIRAC team member Carla Thornton as his coach.

Ms Thornton said she had really enjoyed training Mr Mauch and was amazed by his determination.

"When he first started swimming he wouldn't put his face in the water," she said.

"We started in the hydrotherapy pool and moved on to floating on his back.

"Eventually we moved out to the 25m pool.

"That was when the fear really set in.

"At first it was assisted swimming and now he is completely confident.

"I don't even need to walk up and down the pool beside him, I just count his laps."

Confidence was something Ms Thornton wanted to give Mr Mauch.

"I didn't want to use physical aids such as a life jacket," she said.

"I wanted him to trust himself.

"Now he even gets in the pool by himself."

And after overcoming his fear, Mr Mauch said he thoroughly enjoyed swimming.

"It is getting me fit and making me stronger," he said.

"I also go to the gym on Mondays and Wednesdays as well."

The hard work has paid off and Mr Mauch can now swim one kilometre comfortably.

In one week's time Andrew will be jumping in the pool for the WIRAC swim-a-thon, to raise money for Youngcare during Disability Action Week. …

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