How does a boy who struggled with muscle control become a world record holder? Just like anyone else, with hours of training every day and dedication to a sport he loves. These days, Andy does swim workouts for two hours a day, six days a week and does conditioning for one hour, three times a week.
When competition time comes around, Andy switches over to two-a-days, six days a week.
Andy has always tried to swim at a level beyond all those he trains with, his mother explained. "He has earned the respect of his teammates because of the way he always tries his very, very best."
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Life Outside the Pool
In addition to all the accolades, swimming has helped Andy grow into the man he is today. Ana says that swimming has made her son more social for one. Andy also uses the determination and strength he gets from swimming to attack—and succeed at—anything, his mother says, including being a Special Olympics Global Messenger.
According to Special Olympics, "The Global Messenger Program is designed to teach Special Olympics athletes how to speak in public in front of a variety of audiences." In this role, Andy has already had the chance to speak at state and international events.
"Andy doesn't know what the word 'can't' means," Ana says. That is exemplified by all the Andy has on his plate. In addition to being a Special Olympics athlete, Global Messenger and public speaker Andy is a USA Swimming certified coach, training to be a USA Swimming Official and a Best Buddies ambassador, speaking on their behalf.
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More Than Imaginable
Andy's story is an inspiration to people around the world, but also to those closest to him. "As a family we admire Andy and in return he loves us all unconditionally in a way that we are blessed beyond anyone's imagination," Ana says.
As a new mother of a disabled baby, with a myriad of feelings and emotions, Ana prayed in those first days that she would have a full 18 years with her son so she could leave him as young man ready to face the world. What she got back from Andy and Special Olympics was so much more than that. Andy's journey with Special Olympics has been "the greatest fairy tale life any mom could ever dream for her baby, special needs or not," Ana says.
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