Fantastic Florence: Creating her own lane
Florence (pictured opposite) is part of Team Domenica’s Day Service Programme. Here, she receives café training one day a week which helps her gain, and maintain, the skills needed for her paid job as a barista in London.
I don’t think I’d be where I am without the training I get at Team Domenica – they help me get the skills I need for my job.
Award-winning Florence is also the female captain of Down Syndrome Swimming GB (DSS-GB) and attends swim training four times a week.
Along with her mum, Veronique, Florence has challenged herself to take part in Great Lengths – Team Domenica’s brand new swim challenge event. In fact, the mother-daughter duo have signed up to swim 2.5 kilometres (each!) in an effort to fundraise for Team Domenica’s programmes.
We managed to catch up with Florence between her busy schedule to ask about her passions…
Hi Florence, can you tell us about swimming for DSS GB?
I am a member of DSS GB, which has 37 members. I am the female Captain of it. I’ve recently been selected to swim at the next European Championships in September in Italy. I feel really happy and can’t believe I’ve been selected. I’ve actually been to Central America and France for my swimming as well, but the main hub is Italy. Next year will be the World Championships, so I hope to be selected for that too.
Where do you like to swim? And, what are your favourite strokes and distances?
I like swimming in the sea on holiday but I like to swim in a pool best. I do all swimming strokes but, if I had to choose a favourite, it would be back stroke and butterfly… I go very fast! When I do competitions, the furthest I’ve swam is 400m, but I do much more in training.
So what makes swimming so special?
Being a swimmer is amazing, I love being a swimmer – it’s a very fun sport!
I’ve got Downs Syndrome myself, so having a hobby like swimming helps keep my heart healthy. It also helps me not think about hard times, swimming takes my mind off negative thoughts. After you get out the pool you feel much better too, your brain has washed away any worries. I just love being in the water, it really feels like I’ve got my own space!
What would you say to someone who would like to start swimming?
I’d say go for it! Depending on people’s abilities, I would encourage everyone to swim – especially if they have Downs Syndrome like me.
If Florence has inspired you to get in the water – whether you’re a professional or a beginner – our new event ‘Great Lengths’ is the perfect opportunity to challenge yourself whilst also fundraising for young people with learning disabilities.