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August 11, 2004

Parkin launches swimming academy for the deaf

From: Independent Online, South Africa - Aug 11, 2004

Olympian Terence Parkin has announced the establishment of a swimming academy for deaf and hard-of-hearing youngsters.

The 24-year-old has himself overcome profound hearing loss, and at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 he won a silver medal for the 200m breaststroke.

He will be joined in the venture by hearing aid manufacturers Widex SA's CEO Brendan McGuirk and general manager PK Nagin.

To Parkin being deaf simply means adapting to another sensory mode and different means of communication. He also obviously believes in high quality action and all around him admire his love for life, sense of humour, absence of self pity and creative mind.

He conveys the message very strongly that there is no shame or disability in deafness or being hard-of-hearing.

Parkin acknowledges the communication, coping and life skills taught to him over the years by dedicated family and friends. Professional and personal support and motivation comes from Graham Hill, who has been his coach since his swimming talents were discovered at the age of 13.

Parents Neville and Bev moved from Bulawayo to Durban when they realised that their deaf son would need special education. He attended the Fulton School for the Deaf in Hillcrest.

Ingrid, his wife, understands Terence and fully supports his drive. She, too, is deaf and a teacher educator at Fulton.

"Having a deaf role model as coach will show them that success is possible despite deafness. They will realise that deafness is only one aspect of an individual," said a Durban audiologist.

Final details on where the swimming academy is to be based will be announced later. - Sapa

2004 Independent Online. All rights strictly reserved.