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Winning is Taking Part – Nicholas Layton

Deaf athlete Nick makes waves in the swimming community

Ever wondered how a deaf or hard of hearing young person might fit in at a mainstream sports club? In this video, you’ll learn how a teenage swimmer who has been profoundly deaf since birth has been embraced by his squad. 

Our research shows more than 50% of clubs are concerned about including a deaf or hard of hearing child because they have limited understanding about hearing loss. But this Melbourne swimming club took the plunge and welcomed Nick.

You’ll discover why Nick is respected for his athleticism and dedication. In fact, his teammate William says he didn’t even notice Nick was deaf at first, just that he was a “monster of a human”. William talks about how Nick’s enthusiasm, energy and confidence are an asset to the swimming club and community. You’ll also learn why Nick turns to his teammates for help during training sessions and competitions.

Nick’s coach Seb shares his experience of working with Nick, explaining how he has gotten better at speaking in a way that helps Nick to lip read. Seb is clearly proud of the way Nick and the team work together, explaining that Nick has worked hard to meet the group’s high expectations, while his teammates have treated him “like any other athlete”. 

Seb shares his suggestions for coaching someone who is deaf or hard of hearing, such as spending some one-on-one time to clarify things, or repeating instructions to make sure they’ve been understood.

Nick also talks about how he uses his cochlear implants during training sessions and why his hearing is not a barrier to doing what he loves. As he puts it, “Regardless of if I’m hearing impaired or I have a disability I can still hopefully do wonders. You can do anything if you put your mind to it.”