Louth toddler Hannah McGinn wins Water Babies Little Heroes award (PICS: Nicola Watkins PR)
Water Babies, Ireland’s leading baby and toddler swimming school, have announced that eleven inspiring children from around Ireland, including one from Dundalk, have been honoured at their annual Water Babies Little Heroes awards ceremony in Dublin today.
Water Babies Little Heroes winners for 2020 are Hannah McGinn - Dundalk (2 years 6 months), Blu-Levi Harris - Finglas (1 year 2 months), Maisie Rose McDonnell - Maynooth (13 months), Leon Merriman - Donaghmede (1 year 8 months), Andrea French – Wexford (3 years 6 months), Matthew Smith - Perrystown, Dublin 12 (4.5 years), Céilí Byrne - Naas (2years 10 months), Sean Kelly – Galway (4 years), James MacNeill – Killiney (4 years 6 months), Ciara Gannon (1 year 9 months) – Leopardstown and Aria Geary (1 year 8 months) Kilkenny.
Hannah McGinn (2 years 6 months old) from Dundalk
Hannah McGinn from Dundalk, has been attending Water Babies classes since she was three months old has been through a lot this last year.
Hannah learned that her Mammy was expecting twins early in 2019 and because the babies arrived early at just 24 weeks, she was separated from her Mum for 6 weeks after their birth.
She met her brother and sister when they were first born however sadly she said goodbye to her little sister after a few days and she has only seen her baby brother Cathal a handful of times over the last 6 months as he is an inpatient in Temple Street hospital.
Throughout all of the chaos at home, the one thing that remained constant was her swimming lessons on a Sunday in Bettystown.
In her Mum Jennifer’s absence, Daddy took over swimming and Hannah has become a strong and independent little 2.5 year old with an excellent understanding of the world around her. Hannah has toilet trained herself and learned how to sleep on her own in her own bed.
Mum Jennifer McGinn said: “I honestly believe that she has learned a huge amount of this from her swimming lessons. Hannah packs her own swimming bag the night before and is enjoying being back in the pool after her Christmas break.”
Water Babies, which celebrated its tenth anniversary in Ireland last year, has revealed more remarkable stories of how swimming and spending time in water has helped babies and toddlers and assisted them overcome health issues, boosted their development and generally improved their lives and the lives of their family.
Despite being challenged by accidents, serious illness and special needs, many of Water Babies Little Heroes have shown an incredible amount of strength and bravery considering their early years.
Carol McNally from Water Babies said:
“We are thrilled to see so many children benefitting from their time in our classes and being in the water. We all know that swimming is good for our physical health.
"It keeps our heart rate up, builds endurance and muscle strength. And it gets our little ones' limbs moving, so that they have a little workout helping to improve sleep quality and patterns.
"Introducing a baby to the pool can do wonders for their growth. That’s because all the skills that Water Babies teach in the water are structured to align with their key development milestones. And not just their physical ones, but their cognitive ones too."