Teen w/ Down syndrome to compete in intl. swim

Posted at 9:32 PM, Jan 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-22 23:30:15-05

If practice makes perfect, Allison Van Hoesen is in the right lane for success.

Three times a week, she jumps into the pool at the Blue Springs YMCA to practice her freestyle, backstroke, dives and turns.

“She’s like a water bug, she has no problem getting in the water,” said Julie Reilly, Allison’s swimming coach.

She’s won competitions and is currently breaking records. And it just so happens that Allison, a 13-year-old and soon-to-be international competitor, has Down syndrome.

“Swimming isn’t easy for anyone,” said Kindra Van Hoesen, Allison’s mom. “Let alone someone, a kid, that has lower muscle tone and decreased stamina.”

Allison started swimming when she was 7 years old. First strapped to a water noodle, as another form of physical therapy, Allison got better and started to compete.

This summer, she has qualified to swim in Italy for Team USA in the first Trisomy Games. She is only one of eight team members and the youngest female, so far, on the competition roster.

“I don’t think she knows where Italy is. I don’t think she knows this is considered the Olympics for those with Down syndrome,” her mom said.

In July, Allison plans on swimming the 50-meter freestyle, the 100-meter freestyle and the 100-meter backstroke.

“I want to swim and win,” Allison said grinning.