LGBT Masters Aquatics Club

Positive Strokes

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History

Positive Strokes was created in 2015 as a swimming club for HIV-positive women and men who want to compete as openly HIV positive swimmers and train and improve their technique in an accepting and welcoming environment. 

The club started as part of Positive Health, a programme designed to improve HIV-positive people's fitness, self-esteem and quality of life. The programme is run by the YMCA club in central London. Qualified coaches are volunteering every week to give swimmers (beginners, intermediate and pre-club) top class training in all 4 strokes, from basic swimming techniques to perfecting tumble turns. Positive Strokes swimmers train 13:30-14:30 Friday’s at the Central YMCA

With the support of Out to Swim, the club can now train with them and compete under their ASA membership. 

Since its inception, Positive Strokes has been welcoming everyone who don't always have the confidence to swim either by themselves or in a traditional swimming club - where more often than not, their HIV status would have to be concealed. Being able to practise regularly with no secret or stigma attached, has been liberating for many people. In fact, by feeling better about themselves and being open about their status, several swimmers have considerably improved both their techniques and times and have been able to join other clubs, without the fear of underperforming or being stigmatised. 

 

In the words on one of our swimmers 

Neville: "My own experience as someone who was Hep C and HIV infected at the time when I started in 2009 is the best evidence and proof of the healing power of the careful, genuinely inclusive and first class training that is on offer with Positive Health and more recently with Positive Strokes, irrespective of one’s starting point. The message for all of us is simple:

You Are Healthy, You Can Swim and You are as able to improve your physical abilities, fitness and performance just like anyone else and YOU ARE WELCOME.

 

What we do

Positive Strokes swimmers have now participated in competitions in Stockholm’s Eurogames, Amsterdam, Vienna and Out to Swim’s GLLAM event in London and other Masters swimming events. The team has been successful getting many personal bests and medals. More importantly, promoting HIV visibility and acceptance within the swimming community. The club intends to go further in taking on more members, more volunteer coaches and participating in more competitions. 

Our next big competition will be Paris Gay Games in August 2018

 

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In the press

In 2017 we won the prestigious Swim England innovation award which led to a feature article in swimming times. Read more here.

 

More info and to join

All we ask, if you would like to swim as a member of Positive Strokes, is that your are HIV positive and are happy to represent the team in social and print media including pictures. 

If you want to know more about Positive Strokes or want to join please fill in the form below.   

 

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