Beating the Odds: Deaf Swimmer Hopes to Inspire

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Sometimes people with disabilities are held back in life. But that's not the case for Texas high school student Abby McAlpin.

McAlpin, who's deaf, is using her disability to help others by inspiring them to go after their dreams.

In McAlpin's case, her dream was swimming. The O'Connor High School junior has been swimming competitively since she was 9 years old.
     
She said she hasn't allowed her hearing impairment to hold her back. 

"It's hard, but I don't let it get to me," she said. "I don't let it put me down. If you have a disability, you shouldn't let it hold you back."

McAlpin's coaches make sure to give her written instructions during practice.

"She's very competitive. When it's time to race, she gets up there and she lets it go," Bill Thomas, head coach at Northside Natatorium, told Texas television station KSAT.

At meets, McAlpin pays special attention to the starting signal used for races

"I love swimming," she said. "I love my teammates. I love my coaches. It's just my life. I love it."

"I want to help deaf children," the teen added. "I want them to know that if they have a dream, they can reach it."
   
McAlpin recently medaled in the World Deaf Championships in Portugal. In 2013 she will compete with the U.S. team in the Deaf Olympics.

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