Deaf Swimmer Defies Odds

Deaf Swimmer Defies Odds

O’Connor HS Student Abby McAlpin Hopes To Inspire Others

Eileen Gonzales, KSAT 12 News Reporter

September 27, 2011

SAN ANTONIO — Swimming is Abby McAlpin’s passion. “I love swimming. I love
my teammates. I love my coaches. It’s just my life. I love it,” McAlpin

McAlpin, a junior at O’Connor High School, has been swimming competitively
since she was 9-years-old and despite being born deaf, she’s been making big
waves at competitions.

“She’s very competitive. When its’ time to race, she gets up there and she
lets it go,” said Bill Thomas, Aquatics Coordinator and Head Coach at
Northside Natatorium said.

McAlpin reads lips, uses hearing aids when possible and her coaches make
sure to give her written instructions as well.

She also has to pay close attention to the starting signals. “It’s hard, but
I don’t let it get to me. I don’t like let it put me down,” McAlpin said.
“If you have a disability, you shouldn’t let it hold you back.”

Not only has Abby broken swim records at O’Connor High School, she recently
received several medals in the World Deaf Championships in Portugal.

Abby said the experience changed her outlook on life. “At first I wasn’t
very sure of myself and now I’m very sure that I’m proud to be deaf and it’s
who I am today,” she said.

In 2013, McAlpin will compete with the U.S. Team at the Deaflympics and she
hopes to inspire others as well.

“I definitely want to help deaf children. I want them to know that if they
have a dream, they can reach it,” Abby said.


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