A nine-year-old boy who had both legs amputated as a toddler has become a swimming star – and wants to enter the PARALYMPICS.
Brave Kacper Siwinski loves nothing more than being in the water and his disability has never held him back from enjoying his favourite hobby.
The determined youngster is now preparing for his first-ever swimming competition this weekend in the hope of starting a journey that will lead to Paralympic success.
Kacper was born with his front shin bones and part of his knee joints missing.
His mum and full time carer Justyna Iwanow, 28, then made the difficult decision to have his legs amputated above the knee when he was still a baby.
He had his first leg amputated at 18 months old and the second just three months later.
The family moved to Plymouth, Devon, from Poland when Kacper was around three years old.
He was on his prosthetics but Justyna said it is in the water he feels most confident.
She said: “I didn’t want him to spend a life stuck in a wheelchair not knowing what would happen in the future.
“He was really quick to learn how to walk on his prosthetics, and he has always loved water since he was little.
“He feels very comfortable in the water – he swims without his prosthetics and has been having one to one sessions.
“He has very strong arms and before, he would get tired after about half an hour of swimming, but now he doesn’t want to get out of the pool after an hour and a half.
“He started swimming lessons just over a year ago and I certainly hope he can make it to the Paralympics one day.”
Kacper is one of Soumaya Towers’ disabled students who she teaches at the Life Centre in Plymouth.
The youngster said: “My swimming teacher tries to help me with how strong I have to push my arms to properly swim.
“I’ve been learning how to do backstroke, breaststroke and how to dive.
“On Saturday I’m doing my swimming competitions – I’m really excited about it.”
Soumaya, known as Sam, is working with Swim England to encourage more children with disabilities to learn to swim.
She hopes some of her students will go on to compete and make it into the Paralympics.
“Words cannot describe how rewarding it is to see the children achieve.
“We teach children with cerebral palsy, children who have had amputations, those with learning difficulties and some of the children are wheelchair bound.
“It is beyond description to see their progress and watch them swim lengths and develop recognisable strokes.”
She is hosting a taster event this weekend to encourage the pupils to feel what a swimming competition is like.