A Paralympic Odyssey By Cindy Barnes Kolbe

"When I began water therapy," said Beth, "no one expected me to ever move in the water without someone holding me up."   

My youngest child was paralyzed in a car accident near our hometown in Ohio. We became a team. In the rehab pool for physical therapy, Beth, fourteen years old and a new quadriplegic, tried and failed to stay afloat. Weeks later, I watched her float on her own with her arms gently waving under the surface.

“I immediately loved the water and the freedom I had in it.”

Two weeks before our first wheelchair games, Beth figured out how to accomplish a sloppy backstroke without sinking. A coach at the games encouraged us to attend a national swim meet to “see the possibilities.” We learned that competitors in my daughter’s S3 classification were few and far between. She asked to work with a coach, determined to swim the forward strokes.

“I started doing the backstroke. Then, learning to swim on my stomach and still breathe was a big challenge initially.”

Not a swimmer before her injury, it took weeks of failing, again and again, before Beth managed to move forward on her stomach just a meter or two—not even attempting a specific stroke. Over months, she gradually extended the distance. Then, over years, she learned all of the strokes, each modified to her abilities by an exceptional hometown coach, Peggy Ewald.

To read more of Beth's Paralympic Odyssey go to:  http://www.mobilewomen.org/2016/09/a-paralympic-odyssey.html
Posted by Sparky on Sep 7, 2016 11:12 AM America/New_York