Special Olympics medal for Blackpool super swimmer Erin

Erin Green of Blackpool Polar Bears with the Special Olympics silver medal she won for Great Britain
Erin Green of Blackpool Polar Bears with the Special Olympics silver medal she won for Great Britain
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Blackpool swimmer Erin Green is celebrating an extra-special achievement – an Olympic medal for Great Britain.

Blackpool swimmer Erin Green is celebrating an extra-special achievement – an Olympic medal for Great Britain.

The freestyle flyer from Marton won silver in the 1500 metres at the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi, competing in the highest category of performers.

And Erin, who turned 19 while in the United Arab Emirates, came close to further medals for GB by finishing fourth in the 400m and seventh in the 800m.

Erin, who was born profoundly deaf and with a chronic lung disease, continues to scale new heights in the pool after winning two silver medals at the national championships in Sheffield.

Sharing in Erin’s success is her great friend and mentor Emma Inglis, her head coach at the Blackpool Polar Bears club and in the Great Britain team.

Though Erin can hear with the aid of implants away from the pool, her ability to communicate with Emma via sign language is of great benefit while she is competing.

It is around 10 years since Erin joined the Polar Bears, a disability swimming club and registered charity founded by Emma’s mother two decades ago.

Erin learned to swim shortly after a traumatic experience as a three-year-old on a family holiday in Spain, where she jumped into the deep end of a swimming pool and was rescued in the nick of time after sinking to the bottom.

Erin later attended a Polar Bears event at Palatine and has never looked back, as coach Inglis explains: “We are so proud of Erin. She defied all expectations and is the first Blackpool Polar Bears swimmer ever to win a Special Olympics medal for Great Britain.

“Erin is already setting her sights on her next target, the national championships at Liverpool in 2021, and is so dedicated she has every chance of competing at the next Special Olympics in 2023.”

Delighted dad Mark, recently returned from the UAE with Erin, said: “It was an amazing experience. Erin was by far the youngest in the top category, which makes her achievement all the more special.

“The Polar Bears have been instrumental in Erin reaching the level she has and we owe a lot to Emma.

“The specialist who looked after Erin when she was really young was very good but did say she would be unable to compete in sports. We’re so pleased there is one thing he was wrong about.”

As for the future, Erin would like to move into coaching but hopes for more success as a competitor first.

Mark added: “There is expense involved and no central funding. We have relied on family and the goodwill of local people and businesses.

“Erin wants to continue and hopefully will be an inspiration to others. She hopes to coach eventually and maybe be a spokesperson for her sport. She would be good at that.”