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Breaking Barriers and Defying the Odds: the remarkable story of young swimming star Heidi Rogerson

After being told “so many times that she would never be able to swim”, 14 year old Flint resident Heidi Rogerson has defied the odds and “rocketed through” Aura’s Learn to Swim programme to become a fantastic swimmer as well as one of Flint Swimming Club’s newest members.

Heidi and her mum Alison very kindly took the time to talk to Aura Wales about Heidi’s remarkable journey with swimming and her goals for the future.

Alison explained: “when Heidi was 3 months old she was diagnosed with developmental dysplasia of the hip. This meant that, as a baby, she wasn’t able to move or crawl. After further testing, she was diagnosed with Ehlers–Danlos syndrome: a collagen condition which causes all of her joints to dislocate. Over the years, she has also been diagnosed with Beals-Hecht syndrome, cerebral palsy, scoliosis of the spine and miserable malalignment syndrome.” As a result, Heidi has undergone numerous operations throughout her life, and had been told that activities such as swimming would be impossible feats for her to accomplish.

Her journey at Jade Jones Pavilion Flint began 4 years ago when Heidi was 10 years old. Alison explained: “I enquired about swimming lessons for disabled children and met with the Swimming Coordinator at the time, who, after seeing Heidi in the water, encouraged her to start on the learn to swim programme straight away. She moved from the disability swimming programme to mainstream lessons and has never looked back. She has completed all the Waves in the swimming programme and has really surprised us all. After undergoing a trial period, Heidi is now a member of the swimming club.

Heidi’s passion and enthusiasm shone through as we began to talk about swimming. She said: “swimming is my favourite hobby and my favourite stroke is front crawl. I am learning how to do turns at the moment”. When asked what she would like to achieve in the future, Heidi proudly proclaimed: “one day I want to be a Paralympic swimmer.”

Alison kindly praised the team at Jade Jones Pavilion saying: “Everyone has been so supportive, and the team at the leisure centre has been absolutely amazing. Lots of barriers are put up for children with disabilities and I hope that Heidi will inspire other children to achieve their goals. As her Mum, I am so, so proud.”

Wes Billings, Swimming Coordinator at Jade Jones Pavilion commented that he will “really miss having Heidi in swimming lessons” and said: “It has been a pleasure to teach Heidi and watch her development in the pool. Heidi’s long term goal of wanting to become a Paralympian swimmer has given her the drive and determination to work tirelessly over the years to improve her swimming.

She has broken barriers and defied all the odds; I am so proud to have played a part in her swimming story and can’t wait to see her continue working hard towards her ultimate goal. Thank you Heidi! Everyone at Jade Jones Pavilion is so proud of you.

The whole Aura team would like to thank Heidi and Alison for taking the time to talk to us and share Heidi’s inspiring story. We wish Heidi the very best of luck with her goals and can’t wait to see what the future holds!

We encourage anyone who would like further information about swimming lessons with Aura to get in touch with us by emailing swim@aura.wales

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