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Beth’s third swimming summer began with a task she could put off no longer. She called and talked to the GTAC coach about her decision to change teams. Stressful, despite our gratitude for Beth's first club team and the practicality of swimming with a hometown coach. Peggy coached her individually during one-on-one sessions in addition to regular Seneca Aquatic Klub practices.
Beth swam with familiar faces from the high school team and formed new friendships with Peggy’s daughters, both college swimmers who helped with the club team.
The close-knit, small-town swim team celebrated with a thrilled Beth after she swam her first mile in one practice: 1,760 yards, over 70 lengths of the 25-yard pool.
I watched her finish the feat, marveling at what she accomplished with no leg function. In intensive care after the accident, none of us—not even Beth—imagined her in a pool by herself. Or floating. Or swimming actual strokes. Or competing. Or achieving her first mile in one practice, the first of many.
On a beautiful day in mid-June, family and friends gathered at our home. John and I hosted a party for Ben and Beth, both graduating with honors. Ben earned two degrees, in English and physics, from Ohio State. I set out Beth’s summer scrapbook and other memorabilia. A plain binder held many awards and scholarship letters, including one for $5,000 from the ChairScholars Foundation, renewable for four years.
A reference letter from a high school staff favorite, Mrs. Roberts, summed up the four years since Beth's spinal cord injury.
“The mild-mannered, quiet, bright little girl we met as an incoming freshman has grown into an assertive yet humble young woman. Beth is in a wheelchair but is by no means wheelchair bound."
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