News ID: 271442
Published: 0941 GMT July 13, 2020

Dad learns to swim for 'inspiring' kayaking daughter

Dad learns to swim for 'inspiring' kayaking daughter

A dad from Plymouth in Massachusetts, the US, has gone kayaking with his daughter for the first time after finally learning to swim.


Kandas Dougouno, 38, spent every Sunday taking lessons at Plymouth's Life Center last winter after being unable to get in the water with his daughter, BBC reported.

He said seven-year-old Fatima had been the "inspiration" to build his confidence.

Dougouno was taught to swim by a project which helps families from deprived areas keep active.

"The swimming came about because my daughter wanted to go kayaking, be exposed to outdoor water activities and also it would enable us to do something as a family together, to enjoy," he said.

"At the beginning, I was a little bit apprehensive about the water, but I've always deep inside wanted to learn swimming.

"I've never had the opportunity to learn how to swim as a child so when the opportunity came along I grabbed it."

Dougouno worked with instructors from the Making Waves Together project to learn the basics in an indoor pool.

After months of hard work, he ventured out into the sea at the Mountbatten Watersports Center to share his new-found skills with his daughter.

Dougouno said he had loved it "so much", he had returned for a second time on Saturday. "Now, I enjoy going to swim with my daughter and the family which is great," he said.

Fatima said she was "really proud" of what her dad had accomplished.

Lewis Pugh, UN patron of the oceans, wrote on Twitter: "This brings a big smile to my face!!!"

Dougouno said Making Waves had been "absolutely fantastic" at enabling others like him to experience the water.

According to project manager Tors Froud, 54 percent of Plymouth residents cannot swim.

Mountbatten center activity manager Sam Waites said: "Seeing the pleasure that [Dougouno's] daughter has had on the water and the fun that they can have as a family together is absolutely amazing."

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