With the Murray Rose Malabar Magic just days away we spoke to Rainbow Club member Ajay Denton, 17, and his dad Jason as he prepares to swim the one-kilometre ocean swim for the third year in a row.
Ajay, who has cerebral palsy, started with the Rainbow Club as a five-year-old after dad Jason struggled to find a suitable mainstream swimming lesson.
“When Ajay was little we tried a few mainstream swimming lessons but none really worked because they were big group lessons and they weren’t suitable for Ajay with his cerebral palsy,” said Mr Denton.
“We started looking for alternatives that would cater to Ajay’s needs and we found the Rainbow Club.
“He started and he has loved it ever since and it has really given him confidence in the water.”
Ajay agrees, “I love the Rainbow Club and it has been an important part of my life since I started swimming with them.”
Mr Denton loves watching how the Rainbow Club has given his son the confidence to not only be in the water but now enjoy swimming laps.
“It has been amazing to watch Ajay become water aware and more confident in the water and I have the Rainbow Club to thank for that,” said Mr Denton.
“And now to see him participating in the Malabar Magic, it is just incredible.
“I really enjoy watching his enthusiasm and excitement when he is about to swim in the one-kilometre ocean swim now.
“The Rainbow Club really has given him the confidence to swim in the ocean and it’s just great to see him join us as a family for a swim and enjoy the waves.”
Ajay says it’s about more than just swimming, “it helps me clear my head and I love making new friends and being in the water.”
When chatting with Mr Denton I asked him to reminisce on the first time Ajay swam in the ocean and what it was like seeing his son enjoy the waves.
“Ajay first swam in the Malabar Magic in 2017 when he was a thirteen-year-old,” said Mr Denton.
“On that occasion, it really was a mix of nerves and excitement, as well as just feeling really proud of my boy because prior to that he had only swam in the ocean no deeper than his waist and didn’t really enjoy it.
“Seeing him turn around as he walked to the water’s edge for his first ocean swim was a very special day for us all.”
When I Ajay what was his favourite part of the Malabar Magic his first response was simple, “the excitement”.
“I also love the atmosphere of standing on the start line of the ocean swim,” said Ajay.
“I also love seeing the spectators and crowds gather around at the finish because it makes the day really special for me.”
To join Ajay in the Malabar Magic on Sunday, 20 February 2022, head to the Murray Rose Malabar Magic listing for more information and to enter.
If you can’t be there, please help Ajay continue with the Rainbow Club and help change the life of younger Rainbow Club kids to learn the joy of swimming as he did via his fundraising page.