High school swimmer defies the odds

February 4, 2008 4:34:57 PM PST
Would you ever volunteer to swim the length of five football fields as fast as you could?

Most people would probably say no.

But, when the Liberty High School swim team needed another swimmer to fill the lanes in a recent match against Parkland High School, Patrick Lund stepped forward.

Before the race even started he knew one thing for sure.

"It will be a long race," said Patrick.

But, he was determined not to use Down Syndrome as an excuse to let down his teammates, and that meant swimming the 500 yard freestyle.

What makes this story that much more incredible is until now Patrick never even swam 200 yards, and this time he would be swimming in a real competition.

"We thought for sure he was crazy," said Patrick's father, Rick.

He says he only realized it was not a crazy idea when the race ended. Home video recorded when Patrick finished the race in 9 minutes and 39 seconds, and the room exploded in applause and tears.

Patrick's mom, Arlene, says she thinks everyone in that room learned something that day.

"If we look for people's abilities versus their disabilities, we would just have a richer community. One full of access," she said.

Patrick's last day at Liberty High School will come this June. He says he has a treasure trove of memories, but his most prized memory will be the day he made the crowd, his teammates and his coach stand and cheer.