NASHVILLE, Tenn. - High School is not always an easy time when you are different from the other kids, but the Hillsboro High School Swim Team is embracing students with special needs.
Four days a week, the team takes to the pool.
"It's really fun. I love it so much," said freshmen Emma Ridge.
Together, with her teammates, Ridge works on her technique and prepares for her next meet.
"On a team of about 15 swimmers three of those have some sort of intellectual disability," said Head Coach Megan Kelly.
"I also coach the Nashville Dolphins and we are swim program for kids and adults with special needs. All three of the swimmers have been swimming with me for a couple of years with the Nashville Dolphins and as they approached High School their parents approached me being interested in swimming on the swim team. I was super open to it and I knew it was something that our High Schoolers would be very excited about," she said.
"To me I think it's a real inspiration because you see kids that come in day-in and day-out and put the work in and then it pays off for them. Last week we had a guy drop a minute off his of his race time and that's just incredible to see the development that they get over the practices," said senior swimmer Anderson Keathley.
It's development parents like Laura Marshall are amazed by. Her son, Grant, is non-verbal autistic but Marshall said his time in the pool has made a tremendous difference.
"Amazing amount of improvement. He's just very present when normally he wasn't. He's very happy," she said.
The Hillsboro High School Swim Team is a club team. It takes anywhere from 7 to $10,000 every year to keep the program going. They have to pay for lane space, gear and entry fees. If you would like to help keep the team afloat click here.