Teenage swimmer defies odds in pursuit of Paralympic success

Teenage swimmer defies odds in pursuit of Paralympic success

Meet… Ethan Naisbitt

Ethan Naisbitt is an amazing teenage swimmer who is defying the odds in pursuit of Paralympic success.

He first became known to Dan’s Trust back in 2014 when Shelagh Bagshaw, Dan’s mother and Trustee, read stories about him. Shelagh got to know him and his family and decided to help.

His fight began at just two days old, when he lost his leg due to a blood clot. He has had numerous other leg operations in his lifetime.

In 2017, brave Ethan had open heart surgery (aortic valve replacement) to fix one of four heart conditions he suffers. This procedure unfortunately means he needs to take blood thinning medicine for the rest of his life. He is also awaiting a date for further surgery on his leg.

Since the age of eight, Ethan has enjoyed swimming and the passion he has for the pool has developed into competing in both able bodied and Paralympic competitions. In March 2014, Ethan was classified as an S9 Para Swimmer and in 2015 he was put on the Paralympic Spotlight Programme.

Since then, Ethan and his family have been all over the country to participate in various Paralympic programme days & competitions. Ethan has since advanced to the second tier of the Para Programme “Talent Programme”.

Ethan is currently swimming for the City of Manchester Aquatic Swim Team in the able-bodied national squad. It’s a tough programme – Ethan and his family are there for training everyday (sometimes twice a day) with three very early starts in the middle of the night.

Just before lockdown, Ethan did his Level One swim teacher course and even on his day off, Sunday, he teaches the little ones at Pioneer 79 on the “learn to swim programme” so he still has a connection to the club he started at. During lockdown he also did an autism swim course to help those with autism progress into mainstream swimming.

He has now taken part in four Para Internationals since being classified and has been ranked 1st or 2nd in the North West and between 3rd and 4th nationally in certain events. His aim was to make the 2020 Paralympics or 2021 (as it is now) but obviously due to the pandemic and other factors, his focus is now firmly set on 2024.