Destination Paris – The European Down Syndrome Swimming Championships 2017

Mei-Lin Yap’s latest article for Frontline details her successful trip to the European Down Syndrome Swimming Championships 2017…

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  • I have been involved with the Irish Down Syndrome Sporting Organisation (IDSSO) for about 16 years.
  • I travelled and competed in South Africa, Limerick in Ireland, Portugal, Taiwan, and Florence, Italy.
  • In Taiwan I broke a world record in butterfly.
  • I am delighted and excited to have qualified to participate in the European Down Syndrome Swimming Championships 2017 in Paris, France.
  • Team Ireland departs for Paris on Saturday 28th October 2017. As team captain I can report that the team are very excited about the trip and also excited that Dean Rock the Gaelic footballer is coming to the airport to see us off.

I have been involved with the Irish Down Syndrome Sporting Organisation (IDSSO) for about 16 years. As well as competition, the IDSSO has given me wonderful opportunities to travel, meet new friends and have fun. The organisation selects and trains teams to compete in national, international and World Down Syndrome Swimming Championships. Team Ireland has been very successful at these events.

I travelled and competed in South Africa, Limerick in Ireland, Portugal, Taiwan, and Florence, Italy. In Taiwan I broke a world record in butterfly. I am delighted and excited to have qualified to participate in the European Down Syndrome Swimming Championships 2017 in Paris, France. There will be about 26 countries participating. I have trained hard and I know that the competition is steep.

As well as the excitement of the competition, participating athletes usually bring pins of their countries’ flags or emblems to exchange. The Irish team brings pins of the Irish flag, shamrocks, and harps. We have fun exchanging pins with other teams and trying to collect as many emblems as possible from the various countries.

Team Ireland departs for Paris on Saturday 28th October 2017. As team captain I can report that the team are very excited about the trip and also excited that Dean Rock the Gaelic footballer is coming to the airport to see us off. We are coming home on the 4th November and no doubt I will have stories to tell of team Ireland successes at European Swimming Championships. Then it is all systems go to train for the World Down Syndrome Swimming Championships to be held in Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada, July 2018. Hopefully with a lot of hard work I will manage to qualify for that too.

Mei Lin Yap is a regular contributor to Frontline Magazine Ireland, with a keen interest in the rights of people with disabilities, particularly with regard to access to education and employment.

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