Sarah's sporting achievements
Abstract available shortly
Duffen, L. (2003) Sarah's sporting achievements. Down Syndrome News and Update, 3(1), 24-24. doi:10.3104/dsupdate.215
I am reasonably sure that, in her potential to develop motor skills to a high level - as in much else, Sarah was congenitally above average for such children. That said, Sarah did a great deal that might have helped to develop those skills.
Sarah Duffen and friends at Polzeath beach
From a very early age swimming was a great interest of Sarah's, and still is. I don't think she could swim before she could walk but there wasn't much of a gap. Before we had our own pool Sarah and I were regular visitors to the pool in the Palace hotel in Torquay and Sarah went for swimming lessons at St Luke's in Exeter for many years. At one time she was a member of three different swimming clubs at Dyrons in Newton Abbot, including synchronised swimming. She is completely at home in the water and under it.
Sarah Duffen and friends after a caving trip
Sarah also attended classes or clubs for other activities from an early age and continued for many years. These included ballet and tap dancing, gymnastics and trampolining. Skipping was a great problem with Sarah until she learnt by using a large hoop before transferring to a rope.
Ice skating, roller skating and water skiing were taken up by Sarah many years before she started learning to drive but surfing, wind surfing and skiing came after that.
Sarah and her father on a skiing holiday
Most things Sarah has learnt have taken longer, sometimes much longer, than ordinary children would take and some things she has never mastered, tennis is an example. She can hit a ball suspended on a string but cannot run and hit a ball travelling towards her. Learning to cycle also took a long time, rather wasted in the end because the roads round here, hilly and narrow, are not suitable for cycling.
Sarah learning to waterski
"I like sport because it keeps me healthy and slim and gives me a lot to do. I also like it because I meet my old friends and new people as well. I like some things better than others, swimming is my favourite because I am good at it and I have been doing it a long time. I started when I was three and I still do it three times a week. Water skiing and wind surfing are the hardest but I do quite well at them." Sarah