Swimming was one of the first things I did when I came home on weekend leave from Stoke Mandeville. I had to be there to learn how to cope without the use of my legs. It was summer two years ago. We would make a picnic and go down to Jesus Green pool on the Saturday. It made me feel things were still possible. I had said straight after the accident that I wasn’t going to give up these things, though it was totally different swimming without any legs.
I first started swimming regularly when I was working as a nurse in Australia. I would start at 7 and finish at 3 and be knackered and swimming would totally revive me. It does revive me now but mostly when I swim I feel this immense sense of satisfaction and pleasure. Jesus Green Pool offers me a community. I love going down there, coming in and seeing that clear blue water and the trees and the smiley lifeguards. You always meet somebody you know and even if you don’t know them they will say hello. There’s something about swimming outside because you’re in touch with nature – you can see the sky and the trees. It’s very special. That feeling of water and gliding through – I love it.
Rosie, former nurse and patient