First Swim

OPAF First Swim Clinics

OPAF's First Swim™ offers adaptive techniques in the water to amputees and those with physical challenges. First Swim was designed to help this special population feel more comfortable in and around the water. Amputees tell us that they feel most comfortable and "normal" in the water, as the issue of weight bearing is removed. Our goal is to help this population return to an activity that they once thought had been taken from them and help them feel at ease both with themselves and with others in the pool. Returning to any activity after a traumatic accident is difficult enough. Add to that the aspect of looking different and having to cope with everyday activities that have now become a challenge can lead to apathy, lethargy and depression. First Swim gives each participant the knowledge and the skills to get back in the water within a controlled experience and with swim coaches and instructors at the ready.

First Swim clinics generally run 2-3 hours in length and involve both one on one and group instruction. We bring together swim coaches and swimmers with years of experience who will take each attendee individually and work with them to improve their strokes and their skills in the water. Our goal is to give them the tools necessary for them to return to swimming as a regular activity. An equally important aspect of First Swim is the socialization that occurs between participants. They find themselves with others facing physical challenges, yet working to maintain an active lifestyle and enjoying life. We endeavor to give them an activity that they can pursue on their own or with others that will keep them moving and allow them to improve their health. This can often postpone or possibly prevent future surgeries or amputations.

If you would like more information on First Swim or would be interested in hosting a First Swim clinic for your patients, please contact OPAF at 980-819-9404.

Upcoming First Swim Clinics

More events coming soon!


Press Releases and Media Coverage

What People Are Saying

Ypsilanti, Michigan
“I learned that various swimming abilities exist amongst the swimmers and that given time and patience, their needs can be met. There is a sense of community. I am in awe of their individual abilities to overcome.”
- Rob Hendry, Swim Coach
“I learned to watch out for people swimming above and how to communicate under water with the instructors with hand signals. Great friendships and knowledge.”
- Terry Fleischauer, Participant
“Appreciate the basics of scuba. I have skills to scuba dive in the future.”
- Tyler Keller, Participant
“I love the inclusive activity! Everyone was excellent.”
- Christy Treve, Participant
“I learned how to scuba dive and snorkel! I had previously gone snorkeling (20 years ago, before amputation). I am absolutely excited to become scuba certified.”
- Lori Roesler, Participant
“Balance and Breathing and Being More Active!”
- Mike Sonoc, Participant
“Being calm under water is key to having fun. Scuba diving is something everyone should do.”
- Orlando Harris, Participant
“I had an amazing time for the last two years! Love meeting new wonderful people. I enjoyed watching my nephew snorkel for the first time.”
- Lisa Daniels, Participant
“My fear of the deep water was unnecessary and actually bloomed into a new hobby I would love to pursue. I will take with me that often times fear is something we create within ourselves and that once fear is faced, it can become a passion.”
- Jessica Hendry, Participant
Charlotte, North Carolina
"Great event! I improved my kick"
- Emily Cantwell, participant
"Learned how to do hand over hand swim"
- Teresa Peterson, Parent
"Great Job All!"
- Mike Lehnert, Volunteer
"Thanks to everyone involved. Emma loved her coaches and they were great with her. This is exactly the type of experiences we want her involved in and great fun too. She loves swimming and wants to try the tennis clinic too!"
- Candace Varnadoe, Parent
"It was very rewarding to work with six year old Emma"
- Hayley Blaauw, Volunteer
"Great Job"
- Joe Davant, Sponsor
"Thank you for a great afternoon"
- Janelle Lehhart, participant
"Love, love, love these clinics. Maybe try to get clinic class info to PT/OT state groups for ‘blast’ for more therapists’ involvement"
- Amy Street, CPO, volunteer
"I overcame a phobia of sinking. Today, I am confident!"
- Kantrell Knox, participant
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