Limerick Paralympian wants to change the game

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Limerick Paralympic Swimmer Róisín Ní Ríain.

VISUALLY impaired Limerick Paralympian Róisín Ní Riain has her sights set on changing the game by promoting opportunities for lifelong participation in sport for everyone.

As an ambassador for Sport Ireland’s ‘Changing the Game’ campaign, the 17-year-old swimmer from Drombanna has aligned herself with the core principles of diversity and inclusion in the sports sector

Róisín came to international prominence at last year’s Tokyo Paralympics when, on her Paralympic debut and at just 16 years-old, she made the finals in each of her six events.

“In Limerick all high-performance swimmers train together. I thrive in being in a big group of people with so much competition. You have swimmers preparing for the Olympics and the Paralympics all training together; that is a wonderful thing. I’m treated the same and I like that,” she explains.

She also provides advice on how sports clubs could be open and inclusive.

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“You mightn’t know anything about an athlete’s specific disability so ask them to tell you what they’re experiencing and learn together and see what works.”

Róisín won her first World Championship medals – bronze in the S13 100m Backstroke and 100m Butterfly – in Madeira in June 2022. She was also fourth in three other finals and just missed out a third World medal in the 200m Individual Medley final by fractions of a second when she was pipped by America’s world record holder.

Róisín has been swimming since she was six and trains with Swim Ireland’s elite training squad at the University of Limerick where she is coached by John Szaranek.

She has just started her final year of secondary school at the Gaelcholaiste in Limerick City and will complete her Leaving Cert next Summer, despite a training schedule that sees her do nine two-hour pool sessions a-week, most of them done before school every morning.

Her next major event is the 2023 World Championships in Manchester (a month or so after the Leaving Cert) which will also mark the start of swimming’s Paralympic Qualification campaign for Paris 2024.

Róisín is supporting Sport Ireland’s Changing the Game campaign which is calling on all those involved in sport to consider how they can play their part by visiting sportireland.ie/sportforall.