Stephanie’s feats stem from Maria’s unwavering commitment to Stephanie’s excellence. Maria recognizes her daughter’s potential and sees no limitations. Despite a setback that put Stephanie out of the pool, Maria knew she would succeed eventually.
“Once, during a swimming competition, Stephanie almost drowned,” said Maria. “That traumatised her and she didn’t swim for three years after that.”
Maria helped Stephanie conquer her fear, gathering Stephanie in her arms and wading into the middle of the pool, assuring her daughter that she would be safe.
Once Stephanie’s confidence was restored, Maria worked closely with Stephanie’s swimming coaches on her training regime. Stephanie trains three times weekly, four times if it’s before a competition, focusing on conditioning, weight training and pacing. The hard work paid off. “She’s consistently in the top three in local and national competitions,” says Maria. Stephanie’s experience culminated in a gold medal for the 50 metres Division Breaststroke event at the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens.