Former Paralympic swimmer Rachael Latham visited Harrogate High School to plan for the forthcoming Step into Sport Conference which Harrogate High School is organising with Mowbray School and in partnership with Youth Sport Trust. While at the school Rachael spoke to students about her journey, giving guidance and advice to students in a number of inspirational speeches.
Rachael endured an injury at birth to her left arm, causing her to have limited movement. After just missing out on a place at the Olympics in Athens, she went on to pick up a silver and bronze medal at the next World Championships and compete at the Beijing Olympics. Rachael injured her right arm, forcing her to quit the sport but was able to reach her dream of being part of London 2012, but rather as an athlete, as a Channel 4 presenter, pool side.
She told the students from Years 8 and 10 at Harrogate High School about the challenges she faced, hard decisions she had to make, how to balance life when you have so many commitments, and the importance of goals and determination. Students were invited to ask questions about her experiences and future aspirations.
Rachael also took up the invitation to speak at the Heads of PE conference and also pupils at Grove Road, a Harrogate High School cluster school. Grove Road recently won the Youth Sport Trust Regional Award for their Change4Life club.
Rachael will be visiting Harrogate High School again on 16th January to help deliver the Step into Sport Event, which will bring together 16 disabled and 16 non disabled young leaders from across North Yorkshire to further develop leadership skills. Involved will be Mowbray School, which dedicates it’s time to working with children who have special educational needs.
Rachael Latham said:
I really enjoyed my day in Harrogate; it was refreshing to see so many children being positive about the different lessons that can be learnt from participating in sport. I spoke about the attributes that I gained from my career and how they can utilise them in all aspects of their lives.
Naomi Jones, who is leading the work with Youth Sport Trust on behalf of Harrogate High School said:
By sharing her story with pupils in the partnership Rachael has further increased the profile of disability sport, reiterating that whether you have a disability or not, you should have goals and with hard work, determination and team work you can reach the highest level, which in Rachael’s case was the Paralympics.