Letter: Paralympic pursuit | SteamboatToday.com

Letter: Paralympic pursuit

On Jan. 10, KDVR Denver ran a story about Paige VanArsdale entitled “Steamboat girl with cerebral palsy hopes to ski race in the 2022 Paralympics.” If anyone can do it, Paige can.

I had the honor of coaching Paige as part of Steamboat Springs’ Paralympic Adaptive Swim Team. Her persistence and focus make Paige a true swim competitor.

An example comes to mind. Paige and her teammates swam in the Jimmy Flowers Paralympic Swim Meet at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Due to a clerical error, Paige’s seed time for the 50-meter freestyle was entered at :06 instead of 1:06. As a result, Paige was given the fastest lane, Lane 4 in the fastest heat, against some of the fastest women Paralympic swimmers in the world.

The meet director and I conferred and decided to give Paige an opportunity in Lane 4 in the fastest heat. I told her not to get discouraged, try her best and to not lose sight of the other swimmers’ feet. Paige swam her heart out, swimming the 50 meters more than 20 seconds faster than her earlier fastest time of 1:06. Not a dry eye in the house. Paige’s effort inspired us all.

We look forward to cheering Paige on in the Winter Paralympics and, possibly, the Summer Paralympics. All of us in Steamboat Springs will be standing right there with her. Go Paige.

David Franzel

Steamboat Springs

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