Rotorua para swimmer Siobhan Terry has never been one to let her disability stop her doing what she loves and now she is sharing her love for swimming with others. Three years ago Terry, who was born with a left club foot, approached Te Arawa Swimming head coach Henk Greupink and said she wanted to give swimming a go. He welcomed her with open arms and she went on to become Rotorua's first para swimmer to compete at the New Zealand Open Swimming Championships. Now Terry has dipped her toe into the coaching pool with immediate success.
Since taking up swimming, John Paul College student Liam Reinders, 12, has discovered a love for training and competition.
Liam has Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease, a degenerative nerve disease which affects the growth and development of muscles.
While he has struggled to keep up with other sports such as football in the past, in the pool he has finally found a sport he loves and can excel at.
Liam has been working with Terry for about a year now and last week he competed for the first time, in the para swimming events at the AIMS Games.
His goal was to make the finals in the 25m backstroke and freestyle. He smashed that goal, not just making the finals for each discipline but bringing home a silver medal in each.
Terry said the joy she felt watching Liam succeed was equal to, if not better, than with any of her own successes.
"I was so excited, it was his first competition. Even just in his first race, we were all buzzing on the side of the pool, cheering him on. I think for me it's more exciting [than competing herself] because he's achieved something he wanted and I've had something to do with it.
"Henk approached Liam and then approached me and said 'I've got this swimmer, do you want to work with him?' We started off and he couldn't even swim 5 metres but we've been going every week for the past year."
Her favourite thing about coaching Liam was there was never a dull moment.
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"I like that it's different every time, Liam brings a whole new attitude to every training. Whether it's wanting a Hershey's Pie as a reward or wanting to swim one whole lap, he's always motivated.
"He's swimming some 50m laps at training every now and then as well which is great."
Liam said his time swimming had been "really good".
"I like how you can do breaststroke, freestyle, backstroke and trying to get faster."
He was over the moon with his medal haul.
"I was really happy. I wanted to get in the finals, I wanted those medals so bad. I practise every Monday, [Terry] is really good but sometimes it gets a little bit hard - she helps me get faster."
Terry said coaching was something she "definitely" wanted to do more of and she had learned a lot from Greupink.
"Henk also got me involved with some of the Te Arawa junior swimmers, coaching them. I was really excited and nervous but he helped me at the start and a few weeks later I was coming up with sets on my own.
"I'm also working with another young girl, with a club foot, we've been together for a few months now. She swam her first full lap of 25m non-stop a few weeks ago, that was really cool. Hopefully she'll be competing with Liam one day."
Greupink said it was great to have Terry helping out, especially with the para swimmers, and it was all part of the bigger picture.
"It is just part of the process and Liam is a classic example of a parent coming to us and saying 'look, we have a kid with limitations'. Then it's just about finding the right solutions for him.
"There are many more [para swimmers] and they're starting to find us now. The word is out there and it's going well. I'm really proud with this progress.
"I was blown away by how Liam went. It's mind blowing. I see them in passing once a week at the pool and I see his little bursts of energy - that's what it's all about."