By Lucy Roberts 

This Girl Can ambassador, Glynis Evans, is a keen swimmer who missed the swimming pool a great deal during lockdown.

Glynis Evans

Glynis Evans

As someone who has a physical disability in the form of amniotic band syndrome, swimming allows Evans to take off her artificial limbs and be at one with the water.

Although the 31-year-old tried new exercises during lockdown such as Zoom boxing classes and walking, there was nothing quite like the pool for Evans which is why she is excited that leisure centres and gyms have now reopened.

Evans spoke of how she got back into swimming after having an affection for it during school and explained why This Girl Can has been a real inspiration for her.

Q) When did you reignite your passion for swimming and how did you get back into it?

A) In 2018, I joined an accessible swimming club, I did go once but then I can’t remember why I never went back. Just life happened and I wasn’t in a good place. In 2019, I decided to go back and while I was there my friend sent me a text about This Girl Can saying that they’re looking for people to be in this advert, I didn’t know at the time that it was going to be This Girl Can, but I just said okay, let me do it. Swimming has always been a passion; it’s always been an absolute passion of mine. It was very easy to get back into. I think with me when I take loads of breaks, I jump into the water and I kind of just stand there for a bit – I don’t swim or anything because it’s almost like I’ve forgotten how to swim. But I just always just need to kind of get my bearings and then literally that’s it.

Q) After a swim do you feel like you’ve had a good workout with the same benefits as a run or a weights session, or is it even better than that?

A) Yeah, 100%. Swimming is my favourite sport in the entire world. Obviously being disabled I wear artificial limbs, so sometimes when you go to the gym and you’re on the treadmill or you’re on the bike or doing any other type of activity or using equipment it can be quite irritating. Because sometimes when you’re bending my limb might go into my knee, it’s very frustrating. Whereas with swimming I take my limbs off and you’re just free in the water. And you exercise every part of the body, you’re exercising your arms, you’re kicking your legs. Depending on what move you’re doing I feel like it exercises every part of your body. And I really feel like it benefits me very well.

Q) How much did you miss the pool during lockdown?

A) I missed swimming so much. I wish I had a swimming pool in my garden because you would not see me leave it. It has been really hard, and I have noticed I have put on weight, corona weight as everybody calls it. But I did find a love of doing Zoom classes with my sister-in-law’s brother. So, there’s a group of us and we were just doing HIIT (high intensity interval training) classes, and boxing. That was one exercise I found that I did love. I’ve got a pair of boxing gloves and the pads. And then I actually would go for walks as well, so those are exercises, new exercises that I came to love. I’ll be very honest; I probably will continue doing the boxing and the walking as well as swimming now that leisure centres are open. But swimming will always be number one.

Q) Would you recommend swimming to people who want to start taking their fitness seriously?

A) I would, like I say it’s a very good exercise, it exercises all your body. Even if people don’t know how to swim, go and get lessons because I’m telling you, you won’t look back. I feel as well like when you go to the gym and maybe run on the treadmill, there’s only a certain amount of treadmills so you might have to wait. The same with the bike, it’s kind of like a waiting game. Whereas with swimming you literally just dive into the pool and then that’s it. You just mind your business; you do your exercise then you leave. So, yeah, I really would recommend it.

Q) What advice would you give to women who want to start getting active but don’t know where to start?

A) You’ve got to make one uncomfortable move and go with it. And that’s what I did. When I wasn’t swimming, when I hadn’t found my accessible group, I would go to the gym. My friend would wake me up at like six o’clock in the morning and I would hate it because I’m somebody who loves my sleep. But after I came out of the gym, you literally feel like a new person, it’s absolutely amazing. I would hate to get up, hate. And even sometimes I’d be at the gym and my friend could see I was being moody, and she’d be like, Glynis, what’s wrong with you, fix your face, etc. But afterwards you feel great because you feel like you know what I’ve gone, and I’ve worked out and I feel brilliant. It’s hard, I’m not going to lie, it is hard, but you’ve got to come out of your comfort zone and that’s what I did. My journey with exercise wasn’t very good up until 2016, which is when I joined a gym and again, I made that uncomfortable move. Especially as I started it in January. Who wants to wake up at five or six in the morning? It’s pitch black, it’s cold but I did it. And I would actually do it before going to work. At that time in my job, I wouldn’t start work until about 10 o’clock, so I’d wake up at six, have an hour at the gym, come home, relax a bit and then go to work. It was hard but I did it and I’m on a journey. Although I stopped and started again, I’m still on that journey now where I like exercise so for me you’ve just got to brace yourself and when you’re ready make that uncomfortable move, I think you will not look back.

Q) How inspirational do you think the This Girl Can campaign has been on you but also for women as a whole?

A) For me I feel like it has been so inspirational for the fact that it has made me realise who I am. I have amniotic band syndrome which is a physical disability, so I wear artificial limbs and I have missing fingers on my left hand. And before This Girl Can you would never, ever see my hand on show. I’d be very embarrassed of my disability. I would never as well show my actual legs. What I mean by that is for example, my social media page, you will see me taking a picture of just me, myself and I, there’s no artificial limbs, there’s nothing and I wouldn’t have ever done that. Before This Girl Can I’d be embarrassed because I don’t look like my family and I don’t look like my friends, I look different, and I hated that. But after This Girl Can, especially as I was the first black disabled girl to feature in This Girl Can and I just looked at myself and I was like Glynis you’re actually beautiful, you’re unique and I needed to just love myself more, I didn’t before. The amount of support I received after the advert dropped in social media and stuff was amazing, I remember I couldn’t stop crying. I always say that This Girl Can has actually changed my life. Because I’m a completely different person. So, for me it’s made me more confident, my self esteem has gone up, I’m very, very positive, I’m outgoing – it’s changed my life for the better immensely.

I’ve met so many women from this cause, obviously I follow them on social media. There’s just been so much support surrounding This Girl Can. I feel like it’s helped a lot of women who are pregnant, who are trying to get rid of their baby fat. Just every woman has a journey and I feel like This Girl Can really supports them, it’s given women space as well to just come and talk about their exercise journey. It’s doing so well; this is the sixth year now and I’m really proud of This Girl Can and how it’s helped women.

Women can access useful resources to help get active by visiting

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