Programmed for Success

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In this week’s edition of ‘Time of Our Lives’ we meet Wendy Kentwell, a highly respected swim coach for people with Down Syndrome, based at the Nerang Aquatic Centre. Involved with swimming for almost 40 years, Wendy has a “passion and love for working with children with special needs” and has since founded her own swimming program. With up to 20 young people attending her Saturday morning training sessions, Wendy’s swim program has been immensely successful and has “developed to the extent that many of my swimmers participate under Multi Class at Gold Coast swimming meets as well as compete at Special Olympic carnivals”.

Recently appointed as the Assistant Swimming Coach for the Special Olympic Nationals being held in Launceston later in the year, Wendy is highly qualified in her coaching and has achieved success with a range of her swimmers. In addition to taking 3 swimmers to the Down Syndrome Swimming Association (DSSA) Nationals in 2019, Wendy is proud to report that one talented swimmer in particular, Taylor Anderton, has not only represented Queensland but Australia at International Swimming Championships. Wendy says, “now that DSSA has come under Sports Inclusion Australia (SIA), it is incredibly exciting to see Down Syndrome swimmers able to be more inclusive.”

Wendy’s main goal in her swimming coaching is to “see happy smiles on their faces”. She continually strives to help her swimmers learn and develop their skills, achieving success no matter what the level. She is passionate about continuing to ensure inclusivity and diversity within swimming as a sport, encouraging any person with Down syndrome who is considering taking up swimming to just give it a go. Wendy says that “all children learn at different levels and just because a child may be Down Syndrome doesn’t mean they should be treated as unable to understand and follow instructions”.

Wendy’s story of inclusion and success is something for everyone to aspire too. Wendy’s program runs out of the Nerang Aquatic Centre. For more information contact Wendy 0438 737 111.

Does your club need assistance providing inclusive sport and recreation? Or are you a parent who needs assistance joining an inclusive sporting club? Get Active is here to help!

Get Active is a social inclusion program and accompanying resource kit. The program educates local sport and physical activity providers (clubs, coaches, and volunteers) to increase their capability to deliver accessible, inclusive programs that meet the needs of people with DS and other intellectual disabilities.

For more information contact: Liz Willis, Get Active Program Coordinator Ph: 07 3356 6655 Email: visit the Get Active website:

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