Mary Ann Low remains Scotland’s finest ever blind sportswoman. Throughout the 80’s and into the 90’s she was a permanent member of the Great Britain swim team. Mary Ann was a member of the St Thomas Club in Arbroath and despite being totally blind she swam in mainstream galas all over Scotland, the only blind swimmer at the time. Mary Ann excelled in school sport when a pupil at the Royal Blind School.
Mary Ann won a total of 36 medals at World, European and Paralympic level at a time when blind swimming was exceptionally strong internationally. At the 1990 World championships she won 2 silver and 2 bronze medals and at the European Championships in 1991 she won 4 silver and 1 bronze medals. Mary Ann represented GB at the Paralympic Games in New York, Seoul and Barcelona winning a total of 7 Paralympic medals and medalling in all three Games. Her finest hour was in New York in 1984 when she was at her peak. She won one gold, one silver and three bronze medals.
In IBSA competitions Mary Ann excelled between 1981 and 1989. In her first European Championships in 1981 she won silver and bronze. In 85 and 87 in Rome and Moscow she won 1 gold, 2 silver and 7 bronze medals. Mary Ann’s finest hour in International blind swimming was at the European Championships in Zurich in 1989 where she won 5 gold, 2 silver and 1 bronze.
During the early years Mary Ann excelled as a junior in both athletics and swimming. At the World Junior Games held in Gateshead in 1981 she was in outstanding form on the track and in the pool and it was clear to the Scottish Management Team she would go on to even greater successes. That Scottish team was the first multi disability, pan disability sports team organised by SDS and Mary Ann was one of the leading performers in a great Scottish team performance. As a team member she was an exceptional personality. Despite being totally blind she was amazingly independent and has been an inspiration to so many others from the Royal Blind School who have followed her lead into performance sport.
Mary Ann Low will always be remembered for her contribution to Scottish sport at a time when financial and technical support was basic. She was up there with the best in the world for a decade but sadly like so many others with great talent of her era she was ahead of her time.