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YWCA Otters Swimmer Impresses at Can-Am Paralympic Meet

By Dave Cameron, YWCA Otters Coach
December 19, 2013
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Last week at the Can-Am Paralympic Meet in Edmonton, Canada, one of our YWCA swimmers made quite an impression on the international Paralympic swimming community. Minneapolis Otter Natalie Sims, swimming in only her second Paralympic meet, had the fastest American time in five events, won the 100-meter freestyle against competition from the USA, Canada and Australia, and had the fastest time in the 400. An early flight home prevented Natalie from competing in finals on the last day of the meet.

Paralympic swimmers start competition after they are assessed for how able-bodied they are for the strokes. Natalie competes in the S9 category, as she is limb-deficient beyond her right mid-forearm.

Natalie’s 400 ranks her in the top ten in the world for her category, and her swims have gotten her named to the USA Paralympics National Emerging Athletes Team, which includes an invitation to travel to and be coached at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Natalie’s next major Paralympic meet will be at the Can-Am meet in Miami, Florida, in March 2014, where she will be trying out for a roster spot on the US National team for next summer’s Pan-Pacific Championships. Natalie’s success has helped rally more support towards the Otters team fundraiser, which supports scholarship swim team participation at the YWCA, and has already raised more than $20,000 in under a month.