This morning I saw Nydia Langill swim in the Parapan Am Games. This is a photo of Nydia (in black swimsuit closest to front) from an earlier event.
I met Nydia when she was two at Holland Bloorview's Play and Learn nursery school. Her mom Claudia and I would take our kids and go for coffee after the sessions. Then we realized we lived in the same neighbourhood and could walk, with kids in wagons, to each other's houses.
I cried when Nydia came out on the deck this morning. She was swimming in a women's butterfly event. I had no idea she swam butterfly! I knew her best stroke was breast stroke. I've always considered butterfly to be the most gruelling.
Then her dad Brett mentioned that Nydia would be swimming the butterfly with one arm. One arm? Her other arm would be held motionless out in front of her. And she wouldn't be able to use her legs.
I can't swim more than a couple of effortful strokes of the butterfly with four limbs.
The next thing I knew I was watching Nydia speeding through the water, propelled by one powerhouse arm.
I was in awe, watching all of the elite athletes, who adapt to such a wide variety of physical disabilities and differences.
Bravo to Nydia and all of her Canadian teammates and all of the athletes representing other countries.